CiderCon logoThough craft beer dominates the headlines these days, it would be a huge mistake to disregard cider. The cider segment grew 39% from 2015 to 2016, and though cider currently only accounts for 1.6% of all beer sales — so small it doesn’t have its own segment– it’s growing faster than craft beer ever did. Wow, them be some fightin’ words…

Though a majority of the OBeer community consists of breweries, there are 10+ highly regarded cideries in the mix as well. So, heading to Chicago for the 2017 CiderCon was a no-brainer.

CiderCon was a unique conference for us. No massive booth presence or product presentations this time. Not even a table. We simply inundated ourselves with everything cider for 3 days, armed with basic 5″x7” info cards summarizing what we do and how we help cideries.

CiderCon opened our eyes to the vibrant, young, growing, but insanely under served market of Artisan Cider.

Here’s a few things we learned along the way

Chicago breweries love OBeer

OBeer Breweries in Chicago

Arriving early allowed us to visit our friends at Moody Tongue – a brewery with a “culinary brewing” philosophy that taps into a chef’s mindset to highlight flavors and aromatics in balanced beers.

Luckily Jeremy, the CFO, was around to treat us to a tasting, awesome brewery tour and an informal feedback session.

We discussed the software’s benefits, some needed improvements and overall “revolutionary” (his words) nature of OrchestratedBEER.

Cider is up-and-coming. Still

Cider isn’t necessarily a young industry, but its new entrants tend to be in the up-and-coming category. If Bruno’s a seasoned brewmaster and Dan’s a veteran distiller, then Chip the Cidermaker is an ambitious college grad ready to transform the industry.

In addition to the existing industry veterans, there’s a lot of fresh, passionate entrepreneurs entering the cider game, hungry for advice and best practices to ensure the future success of their business.

TTB compliance, inventory management are hot topics in cider

Just like in beer, If you’re going to turn a profit in cider you’ve got to adhere to business practices. CiderCon provided a variety of business focused tracks, from navigating TTB compliance and tracking production costs to inventory management basics.

Inventory management was a subject of heavy emphasis, as James Kohn, GM and Co-Owner of Wandering Aengus Ciderworks provided a 2-part session addressing questions such as:

  • Does your tracking system reflect what is available?
  • What is on hand?
  • Can you figure out what you need to order quickly?
  • How much it cost you to make a case of cider?

These are all extremely important questions to ask yourself when owning, operating or starting your own cidery.

OBeer – software for cideries too

OBeer Software for ciderCider is a bit of a hybrid business scenario. The production processes are similar to beer, it’s blended like spirits, but ultimately classified as wine according to the TTB. Fun.

Despite these complexities, OBeer is flexible enough to handle this hybrid business case from end to end because it’s a platform, not another tool or QuickBooks add-on. No matter your size, it’s important to factor in a platform to help ensure your success.

Though the ingredients may differ, the processes and problems cider makers face are the same. Head over to our cider page to see how OBeer has you covered from start to finish.