Thinking about opening a cider business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Cider is a popular beverage, and it's a great entrepreneurial opportunity for those who want to get into the beverage industry.
To get started, you need access to a cider mill. That's the equipment that crushes your fruit and creates the fruit juice you will need to make cider. Apple cider is the most common type of cider, but there are other varieties as well, such as peach cider. You also will need to decide whether your cider is non-alcoholic or whether it will be an alcoholic beverage.
In any case, you need a cider mill, or some sort of fruit pressing machinery, and the options are to buy your own or partner with an existing cider mill. Firms like Bucher and Goodnature offer quality fruit pressing equipment, ranging from presses appropriate to roadside markets to large scale commercial fruit presses. As always, your best best may be to buy used fruit pressing equipment rather than pay a premium for new equipment.
Cider as a Side Business Versus a Core Business
Cider can be an excellent side business if you already own, say, an apple orchard that allows customers to pick and buy your apples.
Alternatively, you may aspire to create a standalone cider empire, with shelf space in grocery stores across the country or distribution through restaurants and bars.
Obviously, the first step in planning out your cider business is to define the vision for how big your cider business will be, where it will be located initially and how it will get started and grow.
Your Cider Recipe and Your Market Differentiation
What makes your cider something that your customers just have to have? Your cider recipe has to make you stand out from other ciders. This could be because of the types of apples you use in your cider, for example. Not including sugar or preservatives in your cider might be another point of differentiation.
Beyond your recipes, there can be other points of differentiation. Maybe you give a percentage of profits to charity for example. There are lots of ways to make your firm unique and attractive to customers.
Other Investment Requirements to Start a Cider Business
You'll also need to invest in flash pasteurization equipment and bottling equipment, assuming you plan on scaling the business up. In addition, if you have a location that is visited by customers, you'll need to invest in décor and a nice tasting room. As a word of advice, be as sparing as possible in your spending until your business starts to gain momentum. The worst mistake you can make is to overinvest in startup costs and be saddled with a debt burden or overhead expense that ultimately makes it impossible to turn a profit.
Business Plan Mechanics for Cider Businesses
Haven't created a business plan for your cider business yet? You could be in big trouble.
At Gaebler, we advise new business owners to keep your business plan simple. Ultimately, your business plan is intended to be a resource for you, the business owner.
If your time is limiting, outline the essentials of your cider company's business plan now and make a commitment to come back to it later.
Don't Overlook Competitors
Prior to opening a cider business within your community, it's a smart move to determine how many competitors you have. We've provided the link below to help you get a list of local competitors in your city. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of cider businesses near you.
How tough is the competition in the market you are considering? If the competition is too tough, you may need to think about starting the business in a different area or even start a completely different business instead.
Studying the Market
Once you've finished assessing the competion, be sure to learn from folks who are already in business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. It'd be crazy for them to teach you the business.
However, an entrepreneur who owns a cider business in a different city will be much more likely to talk with you, given that you don't compete with them in their area. Indeed, many experienced entrepreneurs enjoy offering advice to startup entrepreneurs. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
What's the best way to find somebody who runs a cider business in another community?
No problem! Just use the link below and try a random city/state or zipcode. Then start dialing for advice until you are successful.
Advantages of Buying an Established Cider Business
It's no secret that entrepreneurs have a strong impulse to build companies from the ground up.
However, a business purchase is nearly always the smarter ownership option.
Most notably, a cider business includes more than just assets - a brand identity and customer base come with the keys to the front door. And that's not to mention the fact that a purchase let's you avoid the trial-and-error mistakes that are common in startups.
Don't Forget About Franchising As an Option
The chances of surviving in business are much greater when you join the ranks of franchisees instead of doing it all on your own.
Before starting a cider business, you should check out whether franchising might increase your chances of success.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you sell to cider businesses, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.