How to Scorecard Brewery Taproom Performance

By: Kary Shumway and Andrew Coplon from

In sports you need a scoreboard to understand if your team is winning or losing. The same holds true for measuring the financial and operational results of your taproom. You need a scorecard to keep track.

  In this article we’ll walk through the steps to create scorecards for your taproom so that you can measure and improve outcomes.  It’s not difficult, and it can transform your taproom financial results.

Let’s start with some basics: What is the point of the scorecard?

  The purpose of a scorecard is to show the goal or goals you most want to accomplish. It can be as flexible as you like. It can present financial or non-financial numbers. It is designed to capture and quantify your most important numbers.

The scorecard should:

1.  Keep the goals front and center every day

2.  Be only one page (or one number) so that it’s easy to see how you’re doing at a glance

3.  Use numbers (key metrics) to communicate

     the goal

First: Measure the Most Important Thing(s)

  Deep inside, we all know what the most important thing really is. Whether it is in our taproom business or in our life, we know what it is. The problem is that we forget.

  The most important thing is remembering the most important thing. The scorecard helps you identify what is most important and remember it every day.

  It is a simple tactic, but very effective if you follow it. The scorecard provides focus on how you’re doing towards what’s most important.

How to Figure Out the Most Important Thing

  If you are struggling to figure out what is most important, try a few focusing questions:

●   What keeps you up at night?

●   What is the biggest opportunity to take advantage of?

●   What is the biggest problem you need to fix?

  Here’s Kary’s story…cash keeps him up at night.  More specifically, running out of cash!

  So, Kary designed a one-page scorecard to monitor our business cash position every day. It shows the bank balances, borrowing balances, upcoming spending and expected receipts. It shows borrowing ability and future cash needed to fund growth. 

  The cash scorecard helps Kary sleep better at night because he’s focusing on the most important thing.

  Figure out what your One Thing is, measure it, and put it on a scorecard. 

The Process to Communicate & Educate

  The scorecard alone won’t achieve the goal. You need to take action to get things done. Often, you need action by your managers and employees – your team. 

  The process below is an effective way to communicate anything you like, and it works well with the taproom scorecard:

1.   Know the Score. To know the score, you have to SHOW the score.  Don’t play hide and seek with your scorecard or bury it in a desk drawer. Share it with those that can help you win.

2.   Educate your Team. Teach your managers and employees how the scorecard works and how they can make a difference. People want to contribute, teach them how.

3.   Set a Goal to Improve. Use your past performance + set a goal to do better.

4.   Monitor the score, track Progress. Provide regular updates or people lose interest.

5.   Celebrate the win. Free beer works well when you hit the goal!

  Taken together, the 5 steps presented above are an effective method to make sure you get the most out of your taproom scorecard and achieve your goals.

Use Process and Outcome Metrics

  We are a results-oriented society. We like to get stuff done.

  However, it is useful to focus on the Process of getting stuff done in addition to the results or the Outcome. The idea here is to use “Process and Outcome Metrics” on the scorecard.

  Process means the action taken, or steps that need to be followed. We can’t always control the outcome, but we can control actions, effort, following a prescribed routine.

  For example: Teach your taproom staff to ask for the sale and offer an item to upsell.

  Teach them to ask for the customer’s email so you can tell them about new beers or special releases. Send out marketing emails and make social media posts on a regular basis. These are things you do to drive sales, increase profits, or achieve the most important thing.

  Outcome means the actual results. The Outcome is a by-product of actions. If you’re not getting the results you want, experiment with the actions.

Consider measuring both Process and Outcome goals on your scorecard. We all measure the result, but sometimes we need to measure (and reward) the process to get there. 

Scorecard Templates

  There are different scorecards for different needs.  For example, if you want to increase taproom sales, the scorecard will show key metrics to achieve that goal.  If you want to improve the customer experience and satisfaction, you can create metrics to support that goal as well.

Below, are three types of taproom scorecards:

1.  Sales Focused Scorecard

2.  Engagement Scorecard

3.  Motivation Scorecard

#1 The Sales Focused Scorecard:  As the name implies, the Sales Focused Scorecard is laser focused on key metrics to support sales.

Typical Key Metrics to support sales:

●   Total Sales $ / by day / week / month

●   Sales by category / product / service

●   Sales per BBL

●   Customers per day / week / month

●   Average ring per customer

The Chart below shows an example of the Sales Focused Scoreboard:

  The Actual Month LY (last year) column presents the results from the same month last year. The Trend Month TY (this year) column presents where we are currently, and how sales are trending. The Goal Month TY shows what we want to achieve this month.

  In summary, the scorecard shows the type of metric to measure. It shows where we’ve been (past results), where are now (current results), and where we want to be (the goal).

#2 The Engagement Score:  This scorecard combines similar elements of the Sales Scorecard, but takes a greater focus on how well your staff is building relationships with your guests. Your ability to understand the below engagement metrics can result in improvements on your sales metrics.

Typical Key Metrics to monitor engagement:

●   Tip percentage

●   Flight sales

●   Tab size

●   To go beer sales

  Your team members’ average tip amount correlates directly with their level of engagement. We see the staff member that offers a high level of engagement receive an average tip of 27.1% vs a staff member that offers a low level of engagement only seeing an average tip of 24%.

  While flight sales may not be an obvious sign of engagement, flights are an opportunity for a staff member to educate a guest further about your beers, and brewery. When staff suggest a flight, guests spend an average of 20% more, and also a tip a point higher.

  Additionally, because a staff member providing a higher level of engagement is seeking to build a deeper relationship with their guests, they are by default more likely to include more upsell opportunities in their interactions (i.e. suggested additional beverages, to go beers). This results in not only higher tabs, but also more meaningful connections. These guests are more likely to recommend your brewery to others and return sooner.

#3 The Motivation Scorecard:  This is a staff-specific scorecard. As a manager or brewery owner, the more successful you are at understanding your team’s needs, the better you will be able to motivate them.

When you are able to create successful

strategies to motivate your staff, you will see:

●    Greater passion from your staff

●    Greater teamwork

●    Higher tabs

●    Higher retention

●    Your job becomes easier

●    Greater taproom success

  But what metrics can you monitor to gauge how well you are motivating your team?

Typical Key Metrics to support motivation:

●   Frequency of rewards

●   Frequency of recognition

●   Frequency of team meetings and trainings

●   Growth opportunities

●   Length of employment

  While offering your team fair base pay is where to begin, it is also important to regularly reward your staff for a job well done. Motivation isn’t a one-time to go beer sales content. Motivation is finding a plethora of metrics, many from the lists above, that you can use to track and reward your team’s performance. The number and frequency of reward opportunities will correspond with how well your team is motivated.

  Through conversations with your staff, you will learn that some people are motivated by rewards, while others may be motivated by recognition. Your repertoire should include both physical rewards and recognizing team members who hit specific goals.

  While it is important to regularly reward and recognize your team for desired behaviors, hosting regular meetings and trainings is vital to provide them with the skills for success. These are opportunities for you as a manager or owner to connect with your team. The more your team feels connected, the more motivated they will be to work together for organizational goals.

  Increases in your team’s average duration of employment at your brewery correlates directly to the quality of their experience, and thus how well you are motivating them. Length of employment can also represent you offering staff the opportunity to grow with your company. This could come in the form of offering staff educational/certification opportunities, or providing them the ability to climb in rank at your brewery.

Wrap Up and Action Items

  The taproom scorecard is a powerful tool to help you increase the sales and profitability of your taproom. It measures the most important thing, the most important goal(s), and keeps it in front of your team every day.

  To get started with your taproom scorecard, determine your most important thing. Maybe it’s growing sales, profitability, or customer satisfaction. Whatever is most important, get it on the scorecard, and set a goal to achieve it.

  Engage your team in the game of reaching the goal. To know the score (and win the game) you need to SHOW the score. Don’t play hide and seek with your sweet scorecard. Share it with your team so that they can help reach the taproom goals.

  You’ve got the intel, and you’ve got the taproom, get out there and build an awesome scorecard today.

Breweries Making Hard Cider: Beware a Trap in the Regulations

By: Brian D. Kaider, Esq.

Breweries are seeing increased demand for alternative products from customers who prefer a beverage other than beer.  Hard ciders are a popular choice both for flavor and because they are typically gluten-free.  However, it is crucial for breweries to familiarize themselves with the specific legal requirements associated with cider production.  In particular, there are three critical characteristics of a cider product that affect how it is regulated: alcohol level, ingredients, and carbonation level.  Moreover, there is an absurd structure to hard cider excise tax rates that results in one popular category of ciders having a dramatically higher tax rate than others.  For those unaware of this distinction, enormous outstanding tax liabilities and penalties could accrue.

Licensing Requirements

  For simplicity’s sake, this article will use the term cider to include both cider made from apples and wine made from pears, i.e., “perry.”  In practice, there are distinctions between these products, particularly when it comes to labeling.

  Some state licensing bodies regulate hard cider as a beer and do not require breweries to obtain any additional licenses or permits to manufacture hard ciders.  The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), however, regulates hard cider as a wine.  Thus, before a brewery may begin manufacturing hard ciders, it must obtain a winery permit.

Alcohol Level

  When it comes to the alcohol level in finished cider products, there are three important numbers to keep in mind: 0.5%, 7.0%, and 8.5% Alc./Vol. (“ABV”).  Any cider product with an ABV in excess of 0.5% falls under the Internal Revenue Code implementing regulations (27 C.F.R. part 24), must be made at a qualified bonded wine premises, and, under the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act (“ABLA”), must include the Government Health Warning Statement. 

  Because the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (“FAA Act”) defines wine as having from 7% to 24% alcohol by volume, if a product is between 0.5% and 7.0% ABV, a Certificate of Exemption is needed, rather than a Certificate of Label Approval.  Further, the product is not subject to other FAA Act requirements, such as, advertising, trade practices, labeling proceedings, standards of fill, etc.  Instead, these products must comply with the applicable FDA food labeling and packing requirements, which include ingredient, nutrition, and allergen labeling requirements; though some small businesses are exempt from the nutrition facts requirements.

  Cider products in excess of 7% ABV, however, must comply with all FAA Act requirements, including COLAs and mandatory labeling requirements. (Note: if a product in excess of 7% ABV is not sold in interstate commerce, it can be covered by a Certificate of Exemption rather than a COLA.) 

As discussed more fully below, only ciders with an ABV below 8.5% are eligible for the hard cider tax rate.  Ciders at or above 8.5% ABV are taxed at a wine rate determined by alcohol content and carbonation level.


  It is generally understood that cider is made from the fermented juice of apples and perry from the fermented juice of pears.  But, even the simple addition of sugar above certain levels affects how a product is categorized, labeled, and taxed.  If other fruits are added, there are different classifications depending on whether the fruit is added before fermentation, after fermentation as a flavoring, or the wine of two fruits (e.g., apples and blueberries) are blended after fermentation.

  Taking the simplest case, a product can be labeled simply “cider,” “hard cider,” or “apple cider” if it is produced by the normal alcoholic fermentation of the juice of sound, ripe apples and is derived wholly (except for sugar, water, or added alcohol) from apples.  Even in this case, excess sugar or water can require special labeling (i.e., “specially sweetened cider”), formula approval, and application of a different excise tax rate.

  Any cider product that is made with fruits other than apple or pear or to which spices, flavoring, or coloring materials have been added will require a more descriptive designation, such as cider with natural flavors.  If two kinds of fruit juice (apple and blueberry) are fermented together, the statement of composition must be “apple-blueberry wine” or “blueberry cider.”  This product would not require a formula, because it would still be considered a natural wine.  A cider to which fruit juices, herbs, spices, natural aromatics, natural essences, or other natural flavorings are added after fer-

mentation would be considered a Special Natural Wine, would require a formula approval, and would require a statement of composition such as, “cider with natural blueberry flavors.”  If fermented cider is mixed with another fermented fruit wine, the product would be considered an “other than standard wine,” would require a formula approval, and would be designated as “apple wine – blueberry wine,” “cider – blueberry wine,” or a similar designation.

Carbonation Level

  A cider with a carbon dioxide level of up to 0.392 grams per 100mL is considered a still wine and may be labeled simply as a cider (assuming it meets the other ingredient requirements mentioned above).  If the carbon dioxide level is above 0.392 grams per 100mL, the cider must be designated as “sparkling” if the CO2 results solely from secondary fermentation within a closed container or “carbonated” if the CO2 is artificially injected into the product.  In order to be eligible for the “hard cider” tax rate, the CO2 level must be below 0.64 grams per 100mL.  For reference, a CO2 level of 0.392g/100mL or 0.64g/100mL is roughly equivalent to 1.98 volumes of CO2 and 3.24 volumes of CO2, respectively.

Excise Tax Rates

  Brewery owners are accustomed to a fairly simple federal excise tax assessment.  The first 60,000 barrels per year are assessed at $3.50 per barrel.  The tax rates for cider are not that simple.  In fact, there is an enormous trap in the tax structure that could cause serious problems for breweries that venture into cider production unaware.

  As explained above, the TTB regulates cider as a wine. It is important to note that the wine tax rates are assessed per gallon, not per barrel.  Although considered a wine, the regulations provide a special tax rate for “hard ciders,” of $0.226/gallon.  Like beer, however, there is a tax credit for small producers, reducing the hard cider rate to $0.164/gallon for the first 30,000 gallons.  But, the scope of products that qualify for this tax rate is very narrow.  It includes only products made from apples and/or pears that contain no other fruit product or fruit flavoring, have an ABV of greater than 0.5% and less than 8.5%, and a carbonation level below 0.64g/100mL (about 3.24 volumes of CO2).  Ingredients that impart flavors other than fruit flavors, such as spices, honey, hops, or pumpkins do not make a wine ineligible for the hard cider rate, according to Industry Circular 17-2 (even though pumpkins are fruit).

  If a hard cider product has any fruit other than apples and pears (and pumpkins) or has an ABV of 8.5% or higher, it does not qualify for the “hard cider” rate, and instead falls under the wine tax structure.  If the product has a carbonation level below 0.392g/100mL, it would be considered a still wine.  The tax rate for a still wine, under 16% ABV is $0.07/gallon for the first 30,000 gallons.  If the product has a carbonation level above 0.392g/100mL the first 30,000 gallons would be taxed as a “sparkling wine” at a rate of $2.40/gallon if the carbonation resulted from secondary fermentation in a sealed container, or as an “artificially carbonated wine” at a rate of $2.30/gallon if the carbon dioxide was injected into the product. 

  What may not be immediately apparent is the absurdity of this tax structure.  The following table should put it into perspective.  It shows five different products, their base tax rate, the tax rate per barrel, and the actual federal excise tax applied to a 6-pack of 12oz bottles.

  Thus, if making a cider product that contains fruit other than apples or pears and that is carbonated above 0.392g/100mL (about 1.98 volumes of CO2), a manufacturer will face a federal excise tax more than 30 times greater than if the carbonation level was below 0.392g/100mL.  Failure to appreciate this distinction and to pay the appropriate tax rate could result in an assessment of stiff penalties and interest and could even result in termination of the manufacturer’s permit.


  Entering the realm of hard cider production requires breweries to navigate a set of regulatory issues that are likely to be unfamiliar.  Beer and cider are treated very differently by the TTB and it is critical to understand the categories that cider products fall into with regard to labelling, formula approvals, and particularly excise tax assessments.  For those considering an expansion into this area, it would be wise to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in these areas to ensure full compliance. 

  Brian Kaider is the principal of KaiderLaw, a law firm with extensive experience in the craft beverage industry. He has represented clients from the smallest of start-up breweries to Fortune 500 corporations in the navigation of licensing and regulatory requirements, drafting and negotiating contracts, prosecuting trademark and patent applications, and complex commercial litigation.

Go BIG or Go Home

Selecting the Right Size Still for Your Distillery

By: Kris Bohm of Distillery Now Consulting

The craft distilling movement is growing larger every day in North america. In 2003 there were approximately 60 operating distilleries in the USA. Fast forward to today and there are over 2200 active distilleries. When it comes to starting a distillery one daunting challenge every business owner faces is equipment selection. Selecting equipment is often done by forecasting demand. Without any sales history this forecast is tricky to create. Most folks go about deciding what equipment to buy based on budget and what kind of quantities of spirits are expected to be sold. If you ask almost any distillery owner if they are using the same size equipment they started on they would tell you no. Nearly every established distillery has needed to add on additional equipment or sell their existing equipment to bring in larger equipment to meet demand. Selecting the right size equipment is a critical decision, which I would like to help you make. To better inform you let’s explore common equipment sizes and examples of distilleries expanding.

  The first question often asked by a new business in planning is how large of a still do I need?

The answer to this question will not be the same for any two people. Instead of trying to provide a definitive answer let’s talk about the potential output of different size stills. To first define the potential output it is essential to decide on product line up. The still used to distill rum is very different from that for vodka production. If you are planning to distill gin, you certainly do not want to use the same still for distilling whiskey. What I can tell you with certainty is that you will outgrow a homemade 50 gallon still before you even open the doors of your distillery to the public. Let’s also explore the potential output of stills to compare and contrast their potential capacity.

  A 100 gallon still often much less expensive than larger stills and is the size selected by some start up distilleries that are starting lean. A still of this size can only produce small quantities of distilled spirits at a commercial scale. Further a 100 gallon still requires considerable time spent in labor operating it with not very good returns for the labor. Although a 100 gallon still is going to be less expensive than bigger stills, it is likely that demand for spirits will outstrip the capacity of a still of this size quickly.

  A 500 gallon still has the capacity to produce a solid amount of distilled spirits. In fact a 500 gallon pot still is one of the most common size stills you will find in new craft distilleries. A still this size has the capacity to produce 2 barrels of whiskey per day if well managed. This is plenty of whiskey for a startup distillery. Depending on your business model a 500 gallon still may provide plenty of capacity for several years. A strong successful distillery will likely outgrow the capacity of this still within 5 years.

  Continuous column stills are measured based on column size diameter For simplicity we will call them column stills in this paper. An 18 inch column still will process 9 gallons per minute of wash. This means on a given work day this still has the capacity to produce up to 25 full size barrels of whiskey in a single day. As you can gather, this is vastly more efficient than a pot still.

For a column still to operate it will take a sizable quantity of mash to produce this much whiskey and therein lies the largest challenge for a small distillery. To grow into running a continuous column still requires immense resources in capital and real estate compared to a column still.  A distillery running a column still will need much larger, cookers, fermentors, heating and cooling capacity then is commonly utilized when operating a pot still.

  For many established distilleries who are selling a decent volume of spirits the addition of another pot still may not be the best choice to increase the production of your distillery. For many whiskey producing distilleries the logical leap is to grow your production by adding a continuous column still. If the intent of your distillery is to be a regional or multistate distributed business a column still might be your best choice.

Lets Look at Two Examples of Growth in a Distillery

  At Grand Canyon Distillery they launched their business in 2017 with a single 250 gallon still. With goals to produce grain to glass bourbon, single malt whiskey, vodka, rum and gin. These ambitious plans and diverse portfolio quickly stretched the limits of their production capacity very early on. Within 9 months of launching their spirits the distillery worked out a large distribution deal that landed them in nearly every liquor store and grocery store in Arizona. If the distillery was going to meet their growing demand for white spirits there would be almost no room to distill whiskey to age. With whiskey being the primary long term goal, an expansion of equipment was needed. To increase capacity Grand Canyon added additional distilling equipment far sooner than anyone expected. With the addition of a 500 gallon still to support the demand for production, the folks at Grand Canyon got back on track to be able to distill enough product to meet demand. Only 3 years after the second still was added to their equipment Grand Canyon added a 3rd still to increase capacity even further.

  At Finger Lakes Distilling they launched their distillery in 2008 with a single Holstein pot still.

Only 3 year after launching the distillery had outgrown their capacity to produce enough whiskey to meet demand. Finger Lakes took a big step up in production and added a 12” column still new cooker and larger fermentors to their equipment lineup. With the addition of this still Finger Lakes Distilling had increased their capacity 10 times. In the 10 years since they added this column still the distillery has consistently been able to meet demand with a much lower labor cost per proof gallon produced. In this example the addition of a column still allowed Finger Lakes to gradually increase their production without the limitations that come with a pot still.

  As new distilleries move from establishing their foothold in local markets to growing state wide and beyond. A strong growth in demand will often follow this growth in territory. In many instances especially with whiskey the demand will outstrip supply and action must be taken to increase production. For anyone who has been to any of the bigger distilleries in Kentucky or Tennessee, you would have seen that every big distillery operates a continuous column still for whiskey production. A continuous column still is vastly more efficient on many levels. Continuous columns have much larger output per labor hour and use much less energy than a pot still per proof gallon produced. Stepping up from using a pot still to a continuous column still is a logical evolution and is a step that nearly every whiskey producer will make at some point when they reach a certain size.

Is Your Brand Something to Talk About?

By: Hanifa Sekandi

In the overly social world that we now live in, it can be hard to stand out. How does a brand become noteworthy? What makes a brand worth talking about?

  While you diligently craft your new alcoholic beverage, with hopes of becoming a formidable brand, it is important to remember as good as it may taste on the palate, it must also be as memorable to the imbiber. What do people see when they think of your brand? What feelings are evoked beyond an inebriated mind? Will people run to their local liquor store to purchase it? Now that production has finished, you know you have made a quality product. It is time to build a brand that is indeed something to talk about. 

  Fortunately, you have access to millions of people worldwide in the palm of your hand. One social media post can turn your brand into an overnight success. The truth is it does not happen overnight. There are strategies implemented before top-tier brands disseminate their marketing campaign to the masses. But, with just one post or compelling article written by a reviewer, a brand can quickly become a household name. Should you consider influencer marketing? It is an effective tool, but it is not necessarily the only way to spread the word. Instead, consumer reviews and testimonials are part of a long-term marketing plan for sustainable growth. View your customer as a micro-influencer who will host parties at their home, for example, and share your beverage with guests. They will also share photos and videos with their family and friends on social media. It is up to you to guide them, so let’s get started.

Build a Sustainable Strategy

  What most brands learned once social media became a tool to advertise is that it can be quite exhausting. Let us be honest; it is a free advertising tool that can yield impressive results when used wisely and innovatively. But guess what…social burnout is a thing! Most brands hit the ground running only to find out that they have run out of stamina and, more importantly, marketing content. It is important to build the ship before you set sail. Further, you must be building marketing materials that can be used for the entire year! If you are fortunate to hire an editorial or marketing manager, they will help you plan and execute marketing strategies that are viable daily, monthly and yearly. The biggest mistake that new and old brands make in modern marketing is thinking they can build as they go or create limited marketing resources. Remember, view your brand as a ship. Would you set sail with holes in your boat or without life jackets? Would you trust a captain who just goes where the wind blows or someone with skills, expertise and instincts? Of course, you will have to take risks, but your ship should still have an anchor. 

  So, how do you build a sustainable brand? Your first task is to discern the “why”? What makes your alcoholic beverage unique? Is it premium gin? Does your brand use sustainable production methods? Is it a family-owned business? You need to build the story to draw a connection to your brand. White Claw is a notable example of a low-cal RTD beverage that jumped in front of the line from what seems like out of nowhere. Their brand is built around a health-conscious consumer who enjoys drinking without worrying about the scale. They found their “why” and then focused on reaching their targeted consumers. Some consumers gravitate toward brands that have a compelling story. Some brands have attached their beverages to an impactful cause, pledging that a portion of their profits will go towards it. Back Country Brewing, a brewing company located in Squamish, BC, has effectively incorporated giving back to the community as part of its brand ethos. They have also effectively created a brand built off creatively thought-out branding. The continuous colorful and playful references to the outdoors are displayed on beer cans and paired with names that complement the brand’s rustic outdoors theme. Damn Alligator Just Popped and Don’t Cross the Streams are great beverage names that stand out but are in alignment with what their consumer would expect.

  Once you have figured out the “why” and what makes your brand unique, you can start to build marketing materials around this. It will also help you design a logo and select colors that you will utilize throughout your marketing initiatives. This stage is just as important as the product development stage. The same amount of care you put into ingredients, quality and taste must also be applied now. So, you are ready to get started. What is next? Consistency!

Stay Consistent

  Stick to your plan and only make minor adjustments. The foundation of your marketing strategy should be solid. It is okay to make minor variations, but your goal should be to build and evaluate your initial plan. It is easier said than done because this is a competitive industry. Do not forget your “why.” Focus on who you believe would enjoy your beverage and stay laser focused. Devise a marketing plan that includes a calendar that you religiously follow. Always be two steps ahead. What does this mean? Some months of the year have holidays or special days like National Pancake Day. When creating marketing materials with images, blogs and videos, mention and highlight these designated days.

  Unfortunately, there are no days off. There is nothing worse than looking up a brand online to find that they have not posted on their blog for a year or last posted on their social media a week ago. Curate behind-the-scenes features that allow your consumer to see how the beverage is made. You can also give them a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of your business experiences. Do you label your bottles by hand? Share this! It is easy to get discouraged initially. The idea that no one is looking will cross your mind several times. What you do not see during this time is the opportunity to push boundaries and try things that are out of the box before your consumer has an attachment to your product, and then there is little room for change. If you decide to build a blog to support your alcoholic beverage, view it as a mini-magazine and schedule a feature at the same time every week. Be sure to include it in your newsletter along with new product launches or sales. 

  As you build a consumer base, predictability is the only way to stay afloat. As stated above, White Claw appeals to the wellness consumer, and Back Country Brewing the outdoors consumer. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Expand and elevate your initial marketing strategy. Add new elements or products that complement it. This will help you stay consistent, give you more time to engage with your consumers and build a brand that is not a one-hit-wonder.

Imagine Your Brand in the Future

  Where do you see your brand five years from now? Ten years from now? Do not get caught up in current trends. This is why a sustainable strategy and consistency are the gold standard. You may have wondered why that blush wine in the odd shape bottle still does well with little marketing. This is what long-term, effective brand development looks like. This vineyard’s goal was to design a bottle that was aesthetically pleasing to the eye so it would be a great decor piece, while at the same time elegantly displaying the wine. This is a brand that understands that it appeals to a consumer who likes the finer things in life. Consumers will stay loyal to a product because it is consistent and because they feel connected to the brand’s mission. 

  Will the consumer tire of your product in the summer? Or are you a lifetime brand, like many exemplary legacy brands built around sports or music? If you would like to be the go-to campfire brewer, keep an eye on this consumer’s changing habits and desires to grow with them. 


Strategy: A solid blueprint will steer you toward success.

Consistency: Keep going even when no one is looking.

The Future: Can you stand the test of time?

Bank Failures: What are They and Why do They Happen?

By: Raj Tulshan – Founder and managing member of

In March 2023, two U.S. banks failed, this triggered plummeting stocks, a fast response by regulators to prevent additional fallout, and concerns from many Americans who wondered if their money was safe. These banks, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, had depositors withdraw more money than the bank had available. Silvergate Capital Corp., which had significant crypto holdings, soon followed. And on April 28th, 2023, First Republic Bank was rumored to be the next to fall, with stocks plummeting over the course of days. What did these entities have in common? Each failed, in part, because they made high-risk loans, loaned too much within one industry (technology) and didn’t have enough assets to back the loans.

  In the aftermath of this news business owners can feel uneasy. Understanding what a bank failure is and why they happen can help ease the stress and allow for better decision making. Here are some key financial terms surrounding these events from the experts at Loan Mantra.

What causes a bank failure? – A bank fails when the market value of its assets declines to an amount that is less than the market value of its liabilities. The insolvent bank either borrows from other solvent banks or sells its assets at a lower price than its market value to generate liquid money to pay its depositors on demand.

So why does a bank fail? – A bank fails when it can’t meet its financial obligations to creditors and depositors. This could occur because the bank has become insolvent or because it no longer has enough liquid assets to fulfill its payment obligations. This might happen because the bank loses too much on its investments.

What happens during a bank failure? – When a bank fails, the FDIC is required to use the least costly solution to resolve the failure. It will often sell the bank’s assets to another bank. The FDIC may sometimes provide reimbursement beyond its coverage limits.

Who pays for a bank failure? – Despite what is discussed in the media, the taxpayers are not financially liable when a bank fails. Most often, bailout of a failed institution is covered by the FDIC reserve, which is replenished through special assessments to existing banks. However, small businesses are stakeholders in the process and can be adversely impacted by a bank failure. Often, bank failure(s) can lead to disruption in inventory, payroll and availability to get cash to cover costs or improvements.

What’s a Bridge Bank? – A bridge bank is an institution that has been authorized by a national regulator or central bank to operate an insolvent bank until a buyer can be found. It is charged with holding the assets and liabilities of the failed bank until the bank is acquired by another entity or is liquidated.

How a Bridge Bank works – The FDIC has the authority, using a bridge bank, to operate a failed bank until a buyer can be found. Bridge banks may be employed to avoid systemic financial risk to a country’s economy or credit markets. They can assuage creditors and depositors and prevent negative effects, such as panics and bank runs.

How do I know my bank is safe? – Go to the FDIC’s BankFind database, where you can search for your bank by name. In the most recent wave of bank failures, aggressive lending can be a sign that your bank is not operating in a fiscally responsible way.

What’s the difference between a credit union and a bank? – Banks are for-profit, meaning they are either privately owned or publicly traded, while credit unions are nonprofit institutions.

What happens to my loan if my bank fails, is my loan forgiven? – Unfortunately, no. Loans held at banks that have failed are still your obligation to pay. Borrowers should be notified within a few days of a bank closure of where and when to send all future loan installment payments.

What are four warning signs of an impending bank closure?

1.   A drop in deposits – If you notice a large drop in deposits this may be a signal. The FDIC website contains year-to-year comparisons of total deposits for a bank. A sharp drop means other people are heading for the exits. (FRB)

2.   Delayed financial reporting – if earnings are delayed when it comes to reporting financials they could be struggling with changes in valuations.

3.   Cuts in services – healthy banks try to provide incentives for loyal customers. In a struggling bank, cost-cutting outweighs relationship-building.

4.   Desperate Deposit Accumulation– Banks that are desperate to hold onto your deposit relationship may offer terms that are too good to be true. Likewise, if a bank does the opposite, hiking fees to get the most out of their customers, this may also signal trouble.

  In addition, here are some key terms and definitions:

Bank Failure – A bank failure is the closing of an insolvent bank by a federal or state regulator.

Liabilities – the state of being responsible for something, especially by law.

Insolvent – unable to pay debts owed.

Deposit – a sum of money placed or kept in a bank account, usually to gain interest.

FDIC – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency created by the Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation’s financial system.

Receiver’s Certificate – a debt instrument that is issued by the receiver of a business and that may have priority over other liens against the business.

Creditors – a person or company to whom money is owed.

Investment – the process of investing money for profit

Bridge Bank – a temporary bank set up by federal regulators to operate a failed or insolvent bank.

Bank runs – A bank run is when many clients of a bank or a financial institution withdraw their deposits at the same time over fears about the bank’s solvency.

Set off Clause – a legal clause that gives a lender the authority to stop a debtor’s deposits when they default on a loan/when you miss payments for a specified period.

Solvent – having assets more than liabilities; able to pay one’s debts.

Liquid Cash/Asset – an asset that can easily be converted into cash in a short amount of time.

  These bank failures have nothing to do with thousands of other banks that are still running successfully. Community banks are in extremely good shape and banks are still issuing loans. It’s important to remember that the FDIC is in place to protect a certain number of deposits – and the people who made them. Additionally, the federal government created the Bank Term Funding Program on March 12, promising to return all depositors’ money, which helped stabilize unsteady markets. Although many people are concerned about the security of their deposits, there are many protections in place to keep your money safe.

  Know that the FDIC protects your money. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) started after the Great Depression to protect depositors’ money. The FDIC automatically insures up to $250,000 in deposits per depositor and per insured bank. During a bank collapse like we saw in March, the FDIC ensures that bank customers will receive their insured funds, which is any deposit up to $250,000. In the unlikely event that your bank fails, the FDIC will reimburse your insured deposits, up to the $250,000 per person limit, if they are maintained with an insured bank or credit union.

  Raj Tulshan is the founder and managing member of, a one-stop FinTech and financial advisory service that democratizes the loan process. Loan Mantra provides corporate sized services and capital to entrepreneurs, small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Raj and Team Loan Mantra at 1.855. 700.BLUE (2583) or

Greenbar Distillery: Going Beyond the Spirit

By: Gerald Dlubala

Located in the arts district of Los Angeles, the Greenbar Distillery operates in a historic brick building built in 1905 and positioned in the same diverse neighborhood that houses iconic residents like Warner Brothers Music, Soho House and Hyperloop. Intermingled with high-end coffee shops, trendy barbershops and homeless tents, husband-and-wife team Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Matthews transformed an old strip club into the Greenbar Distillery in 2011.

  “Our space is colorful, modern, vibrant and warm,” said Khosrovian. “It is multicultural and optimistic, invoking the classic positive vibe of LA, where people come to fulfill their dreams, whatever they may be. There are giant windows overlooking our production floor, so customers can see and understand what we’re all about. We were the first distillery in Los Angeles since at least the Prohibition Era. For the true cocktail lover, Greenbar Distillery was the only exposure to the industry for at least a decade, so we wanted to make sure that if cocktail lovers found us, we did the best possible job to make their cocktail experience positive and up to all of their expectations, while showing them what goes into running a distillery.”

  Khosrovian tells Beverage Master Magazine that the distillery came about out of necessity to keep up with the demand for their homemade spirits beginning in 2004. Neither Khosrovian nor Matthews had any actual distilling or spirits experience. They met in graduate school, and their experience with spirits was only from the consumer side of the bar. But within two years, their home distilling hobby blossomed and became more work than a hobby.

  “We were engaged and doing the normal family circuit, meeting each other’s families, relatives and friends,” said Khosrovian. “For us and our heritage, that meant hosting big gatherings with big meals and frequent toasts featuring our homemade, fruit-based, high-proof alcohol. Litty is a trained chef and foodie with an educated palette, and she considered our homemade alcohol to be slightly medicinal and, frankly, not very good. She would politely pick up her glass for the toast but set it down again without drinking. That was awkward for me, so I set out to make something she would enjoy by incorporating the same culinary skills and techniques she used to produce her amazing food. Additionally, we took trips to the farmers’ markets to find ingredients to add in different ways and improve our alcohol’s flavor and aroma. We had some success, which we quickly bottled for future family gatherings using homemade printed labels. The ultimate feeling of success was when family and friends asked for more, and then friends of friends started requesting bottles of our product.”

  Khosrovian said that interest in their homemade spirits sparked a serious conversation about which direction to take their success. Luckily for all of us, they chose to start distilling on a larger scale. The first step was renting a small space in a nearby town that allowed a slightly larger scale of production to satisfy the demand from friends and relatives but also allowed them to be able to connect with and supply some of the local bars, hotels and restaurants that had an interest in using their products.

  “This was pre-pandemic when 80 percent of our business was related to being used as a bartender brand in restaurants, bars and hotels,” said Khosrovian. “We had tried to gain the home drinker’s interest by putting recipes on our labels, setting up stands at stores with recipes that they could make at home and hosting classes and tastings to try and see where we could improve our marketing and increase bottle sales, but nothing seemed to work. Actually, the reverse happened, even though our drinks received rave reviews. We were totally baffled but finally realized the only way to pursue our dream of showing customers how to drink better and more interesting things using our products was to make it easier for the consumer and provide ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails.”

  So, Greenbar started offering three spritz cocktails in cans, and as Khosrovian would later admit, that timing was crucial because shortly after, the pandemic closed the bars, hotels and restaurants, literally all of their income sources.


Pandemic Problems Lead to Successful Solutions

  “The pandemic took away our revenue stream, and since we already found that consumers were unwilling to put in the work to make our cocktails at home, our only choice at this point was to can our cocktails and provide them as additional RTD options,” said Khosrovian. “Initially, we made everything in-house, including vodka, but now our base alcohol is made to our standards off-site. We use the base alcohols to ferment things like rum and whiskey on site and then redistill things like gin, liqueurs and amaro using our unique flavorings. We initially made and carbonated our RTDs in-house and used mobile canners for packaging, but it became very costly and difficult to get on their schedule and adhere to their specified run sizes. Forecasting our needs that far in advance was also a challenge, so about two and a half years ago, we invested in a medium-speed canning line that allows us to do 100 cans per minute in-house, on-site. With a two-million-dollar investment in additional accessories, we can do everything in-house, from creating the spirits to creating carbonated beverages to packaging.”

  “Today, the RTD market remains about 75 percent of our business, and surprisingly, most of it is in the NA (no alcohol) market,” said Khosrovian. “That fact initially humbled us, but as we began to work with markets, who were quite literally our lifeline to the public, we saw that they were getting a lot of questions about NA or LA (low alcohol) options. Those markets were rapidly growing, but consumers wanted something different than only the juice additives or normally available seltzers.”

  Khosrovian said they dove into the NA topic to see if it was a legitimate option because the idea of cocktails without alcohol was unfamiliar to him.

  “We needed to know what the consumers were really after in these types of drinks,” said Khosrovian. “So, we talked to consumers who either drank alcohol minimally or not at all and found the qualities consumers were after in these types of cocktails were related more to the experience of drinking the cocktail than the actual effects of the alcohol.”

•   They wanted something that changed their mood. With proper flavoring and layering, consumers will respond to NA cocktails in the same ways they do to complex, layered, alcohol-based cocktails.

•   Consumers wanted something that reengineered their brains and jolted them out of work mode and into a more social mode, similar to the vibe that alcohol-based counterparts do.

•   They wanted something they could drink comfortably and slowly, changing the tempo and brain function to initiate a slower pace to their mental state and social interactions.

  “We began to ask ourselves if we could provide these things with NA cocktails and have them function and deliver the overall experience similar to their alcohol-based counterparts. The answer was obviously yes, because consumers are looking for more of these types of options. As a result, NA cocktails can be enjoyed more often and in more situations without the limitations or consequences of alcohol consumption.

Organics, Sustainability and One-Bottle-One-Tree

  Khosrovian tells Beverage Master Magazine that sustainability wasn’t a primary goal of Greenbar Distillery but rather an accidental, fortunate outcome of their business philosophy. In California, where the growing season is year-round, Khosrovian always requests the best aromatic and flavorful produce from partnering farmers. When he inadvertently received a harvest from a certified organic orchard without his knowledge, a batch of chocolate orange vodka was noticeably different. It was better, as in more aromatic and more flavorful, but different. That experience from a grower growing organic to make sure his farm would be a lasting legacy for future generations made such an impression because of the increased flavor and aroma that Khosrovian and Matthews immediately decided to use only organic ingredients from that day forward. But they also researched and learned more about implementing organic and sustainable practices in other production areas.

  “We applied this same way of thinking to our packaging, including bottles, printing, labeling, capsules and so on,” said Khosrovian. “We traditionally used heavyweight bottles with laminated labels on virgin paper that would last 100 years. But who would actually want to keep these things that long? We continually asked ourselves what else we could do to help. Both of our heritages have a tradition of planting a tree for every baby born in the family, and in a way, these bottles are our kids. So, we started a program to plant a tree for every bottle we sold, and the Greenbar name was born. It just felt right to give back for our success. We communicated this to all of our customers, and it sounded noble, but no one knew what it actually meant. We needed verifiable results, so after the first year, we hired agencies to determine what effect this action of planting high-canopy trees in return for bottle sales really had on our carbon footprint. In consumer terms, the results showed that if the average American drinks one and a half ounces of our spirits in a day, they are carbon negative for that day. It’s a little thing, but eventually, it adds up and makes a difference. Since 2008, we’ve planted over a million trees, equating to 10 to 12 million carbon-neutral people daily.”

  “So, now we ask, what has your drink done for you?” said Khosrovian. “We’re not revolutionizing or stopping climate change, but it’s something for the consumer to consider. We still have to deliver on our promise of drinking better and more interesting things with great taste, but if the consumer has a choice between products that give them the same or better experience, then maybe they can look towards products that go beyond the spirit and help out in other ways.”

Staying Within Yourself

  “I would tell anyone starting in this business first to get to know yourself and be true to your feelings because, in the end, that’s what you’ll end up doing,” said Khosrovian. “Don’t shortchange yourself or your possibilities because you don’t have to follow anyone’s footsteps in distilling. Grab your chance to be creative, and whatever you do will work and be satisfying. Some will like it, some won’t and that’s okay, but fakes usually don’t last. We’ve evolved over 18 years from helping restaurant, bar and hotel industries serve those who prefer to drink better outside of the home to helping customers drink better wherever they want to consume our products. We’ve learned things the hard way, but frankly, we got lucky on many business fronts as well. We are very good at manipulating and layering flavors to make our products delicious, flavorful and interesting to the consumer. In return, they appreciated and wanted more. Our love and passion come through in our products, so much so that as a loving gesture to my wife, Litty, there is a heart on nearly every one of our products, signifying how we got all of this started.”

  Khosrovian and Matthews also look for that same creativity, passion and willingness to play and learn in their employees. The freedom to express oneself and occasionally screw up is part of being a Greenbar Distillery employee. Khosrovian says mistakes happen and are okay because that learning experience will lead to improvements and ultimately result in happy customers.

Consumers Drive Future Goals

  “We will be going more towards the whole cocktail as our product versus only ingredients,” said Khosrovian. “This includes looking at RTDs in every format available, versus only base spirits. Our experience has opened our eyes to how much the customer is willing to embrace cocktails outside of the bar atmosphere, provided we can give them a similar experience and level of comfort. As happy as we are that the restaurant and bar world has returned, regularly going out to a bar can be inconvenient and expensive. We provide the best of the bar experience for consumers in every format possible, wherever they choose to drink better and more interestingly to enjoy our products”.

  Greenbar Distillery now makes the most extensive portfolio of organic spirits globally. Joining their TRU Vodkas are CRUSOE Rums, IXA Tequilas, SLOW HAND Whiskeys, FRUITLAB Liqueurs, CITY Gins, GRAND POPPY and GRAND HOPS Amari and BAR KEEP Bitters.

  “As a craft distiller, we always strive to meet the consumers where they are to ensure their craft cocktail experience is better, easier and more interesting.”

  For more product information, or to learn more about Greenbar Distillery, visit or call: Greenbar Distillery, 2459 E 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA  90021, (213) 375-3668,

The Return of Community Ciders 

By: Becky Garrison

In the Pacific Northwest, some cideries take local apples and use them to create community cider-based ciders, with the profits often donated to a designated local charity. Following are some examples of PNW cideries’ community cider programs.

Art+Science (Sheridan, Oregon) –  While Kim Hamblin sees quite a bit of fruit go to waste, she also observes how people tend not to mind picking fruit, especially if it goes to a good cause. Launching a community cider program was a natural fit, given her focus on foraging.

After launching this program in 2022, her hopes were dashed with a very low yield because of a flukish April snow that affected blossoms and pollinators. As they are just beginning this program, they have yet to receive enough apples to make a cider, though she remains optimistic that the 2023 harvest will be significantly better. Once she has a cider in hand, she plans to donate to her favorite local groups, such as the community campus for their music program, the food bank or a local arts group. “It might be fun to have a list and let contributors pick their favorites,” she reflects. 

Lockhorn Hard Cider (Bozeman, Montana) – Owner Anna Deal loves the idea of turning something that would otherwise go to waste into something valuable, like great-tasting cider. Lockhorn Hard Cider planted an orchard five years ago with the hopes of growing cider apples to complement their cider production. Soon, they realized there was a “mature orchard” full of an incredible variety of heirloom varietal apples scattered throughout the backyards and homesteads of the Gallatin Valley.

  When it announced it was collecting excess backyard apples to press into cider, the community responded with 14,000 pounds of apples that produced 1,000 gallons of cider. Subsequent years have been more challenging, with hard frosts in the fall before the trees are dormant, which damages next year’s bud, as well as snow and wind during blossom.

  People bring apples from their backyards to the Cider House in the fall, which they trade for a pint or can of cider for every 25 pounds of fruit. In addition, the Deals and volunteers help pick fruit for people who cannot pick themselves. “It has become a really beautiful fall tradition going back to these trees and small orchards with community members who have become friends to pick apples each fall. Conversation and the smell of apples in the golden fall sunshine is really magical,” Deal opines.

  Currently, Lockhorn partners with three local non-profits: Haven Montana (which provides domestic abuse support), the Gallatin Valley Watershed Council and the Bozeman Symphony. So far, it has raised nearly $3,000 for these local groups, with volunteers from each group helping pick apples when they can. 

Madrone Cellars & Cider (Friday Harbor, Washington) – According to Shaun Salamida, co-owner and winemaker, Madrone’s community-sourced cider program evolved naturally by connecting and talking with people who had old trees or knew local landowners who did. With the absence of land, it was driven to connect with locals who had abandoned orchards or orchards where there was just too much fruit for a single family to utilize. They pick about 80 percent of the apples themselves, as the old orchards are large, with even standard trees requiring special ladders. The rest are picked for them by generous property owners.

  Madrone Cellars & Cider has partnered with a local organization called the San Juan Islands Pomona, which aims to preserve, identify and evaluate local heritage varieties. Through this partnership, it has been able to help preserve and expand the culture of local apple and pear varieties and help restore old heritage orchards in the San Juans. So far, it has received scionwood from local heritage varieties to propagate about 30 trees.

  Since the program’s inception, it has grown from working with five local landowners to around 20. When it started, it was easy to jump around and get the apples without much difficulty. As it added more orchards, Salamida found that Madrone needed to set up charts and a calendar so it could schedule the picks. Also, as most picks are small and come in staggered throughout the harvest season, it had to find a way to press small lots.

  As it are only a two-person operation, its production was not impacted during COVID since apples could be dropped off or picked up using appropriate safety measures. With its tasting room and local restaurants closed, it had to pivot to grocery store and delivery sales. “There was a definite negative impact on our sales during that time, as most customers want to try their craft beverage before purchasing,” Salamida notes. 

Meriwether Cider (Boise, Idaho) – Since one of Meriwether Cider’s core company values is the community, it jumps on anything it can do to get closer and involve the local community, as well as help the area’s local agriculture and fruit trees.

 After launching its first Community Crush in 2016, it continues to issue an annual call to action to the local community through its website, social media and a press release to local news sources. Folks bring apples to the facility for about a month in August. Meriwether hosts a “Crushing Party” where folks come to help wash, crush and press the apples. In particular, children especially loved helping out. About a month later, it hosts a “Drinking Party.”

  Initially, Meriwether donated all proceeds to the Treasure Valley Food Coalition, a locally based non-profit focused on healthy and sustainable food production. During COVID, this organization went under and Meriwether Cider did not do a Community Crush in 2020 or 2021. When it brought the program back in 2022, it donated the proceeds to The Lost Apple Project, a non-profit that finds, identifies and protects wild apple varieties. 

Portland Cider Company (Clackamas, Oregon)

As a two-person operation, founder Jeff Parrish and his wife, Lynda, wanted to create a community cider program but lacked time to make that happen. Then in the spring of 2016, they moved into their current location and hired staff to help them with marketing and events. Armed with the resources to give this program a start, they launched Portland Community Cider that fall. Since 2018, they’ve partnered with Hunger Free Oregon in this venture. 

  Despite COVID restrictions, they were able to remain in full operation and continue their community cider program. Their donations exploded in 2020 and 2021, a fact Parrish attributed to the fact that with so many people working from home, there was simply more time for them to harvest apples. They established a no-contact process for dropping off the apples and pears, and the community responded in a big way. Also, their large open warehouse was akin to working outside due to its airy space and constant ventilation. In addition, all of their marketing and sales staff transitioned to primarily working from home.

 With over 100 varieties of apples available in the Greater Portland area, they have a wide range of fruit available. Their 2022 community cider was unique, as the percentage of pears donated appeared to be higher than in years past, which changed the character of the cider. Also, their cidermakers decided to use Scottish ale yeast to ferment the juice this year instead of wine yeast.

Seattle Cider (Seattle, Washington) – While apples are at the center of what Seattle Cider does as a company, it is not an orchard-based cidery. Its production facility and tasting room are located in SODO, one of the more industrial areas of Seattle. But as Maura Hardman, PR and marketing manager, observes, “Partnering with City Fruit since 2014 affords us an opportunity to keep our cidermakers connected with the most important ingredient we use.” 

  In 2015, Seattle Cider took City Fruits’ harvest viability from 68 percent to 98 percent by creating a product that benefited from the use of crab apples and other apples that were not fit for donation to local food banks and couldn’t be used for City Fruit’s CSA program. To date, its largest remaining harvest was a little over nine tons of upcycled fruit in 2016.

  All the apples used in making City Fruit Cider are harvested within the urban canopy of Seattle, from community food forests to neighborhood backyards. It even presses the apples in-house at the cidery, so from harvest to ferment, City Fruit is truly a “Seattle cider.”

  When the partnership first launched, the cider was available at a few select grocery stores and in the tasting room, The Woods. City Fruit is now available in the SODO tasting room and online, shipping directly to consumers in 39 states. Since the start of the program, Seattle Cider has donated $18,500 to City Fruit.

  The quantity of each varietal changes from year to year, so each City Fruit Cider is unique. As Hardman states, the company plans to release the cider on Earth Day, which lines up nicely with City Fruit’s mission. “It’s a great time for us to share the story of our continued partnership with City Fruit and help bring visibility to City Fruit’s important work in stewarding and harvesting from urban fruit trees to nourish people, build community and protect the environment.”

Western Cider (Missoula, Montana) – Western Cider founder Matthew LaRubbio decided to launch a cider program based on his experience as a caretaker at a historic ranch in Missoula, Moon-Randolph Homestead, which had a 130-year-old orchard. As part of the program, they would pick the fruit and press it at the annual fundraiser every year. “These connections to the places we harvest fruit is integral to our experience in making cider and has significance to our customers that drink the cider,” he observes.

  Since the programs’ inception, it has partnered with the Great Bear Foundation, which works to mitigate the confrontations between humans and bears in the urban wildlife interface. The Great Bear Apple Drive brings people from all around their region. A five-dollar voucher for cider is given for every forty pounds of apples, with 20,000 pounds of apples collected during their first year.

  Moving forward, Western Cider plans to use their community cider primarily for making ice ciders through a process known as cryoconcentration. This process involves freezing apple juice in a suspended container, allowing the sugars to slowly separate and drain into a lower vessel, and then fermenting that very sweet juice into a high-ABV cider. Western Cider ages it in oak barrels for one year and matures it in kegs for another year. The result is a plush aperitif clocking in at 16 percent ABV.

The Growth of Community Cider Programs

  Leadbetter encourages other cideries to just do it. “If you have even a small capacity macerator and press, you can have a community crush!” As Parrish observes other cideries outside the Northwest starting their community cider programs, he stresses how you can’t go wrong with engaging with your local community. “I don’t think there’s only one way to make a program like this work, so I would encourage any cidery wanting to make a community cider to follow a path that feels good to them and fits their values and capabilities.”

Carbon Dioxide & Nitrogen Play Important Roles in Craft Beverage Production

By: Gerald Dlubala

The production, delivery and packaging of beer and the use of gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2) are inseparable. But because CO2 is also a natural byproduct of the brewing process, monitoring its levels during and in the delivery of draught beer is critical. Carbon dioxide has flavor characteristics that could cause your beer to undergo flavor changes if left unmonitored. Additionally, if pressures are left unchecked and become too low in the draught beer delivery system, the CO2 is allowed to leave the beer, causing the pour to be flat. Conversely, too high CO2 pressure results in over-carbonation, causing flavor flaws and a foamy pour. Either problem causes increased product usage and waste, increasing the brewery’s costs and decreasing an already thin profit margin.

Inline CO2 Sensors: Mettler-Toledo, LLC

  Dissolved CO2 sensors are inline sensors that continuously monitor dissolved CO2 in numerous applications, including the beer brewing process. Using dissolved CO2 sensors allows brewers to monitor key quality attributes of their product, ensuring a consistent product and all-important mouthfeel to their craft beers.

  Mettler Toledo offers its InPro5500i inline sensors, thermal conductivity sensors optimized for brewing quality control and monitoring the carbonation levels of the beer. The InPro5500i line uses digital technology to simplify handling, provide durable performance and offer increased product life, reducing lifetime sensor costs.

  Additional benefits and characteristics of Mettler-Toledo’s inline sensors include the following:

•   Helping the brewer maintain consistency and overall beverage quality control

•   Sensors are manufactured with a food grade, hygienic, intelligent design and diagnostics

•   The use of proven technology to accurately provide trusted CO2 measurement

•   Maintenance predictability

•   Process connection compatibility, available with three process connections: Variant Type N, TriClamp 2 inch and 29 mm with cap nut M42

For more information on Mettler-Toledo’s CO2 sensors, visit

Nitrogen Dosing for Shelf Life, Stability and Packaging Excellence: Vacuum Barrier Corporation

  While the applications for nitrogen dosing in the beverage industry have remained consistent, the products that benefit from being dosed have and will continue to grow. Cannabis-based beverages, the dramatic growth and variety of available RTD (ready-to-drink) cocktails and all nitro-style beers, coffees and teas benefit from nitrogen dosing in one way or another. Through its preservation and pressurization qualities, nitrogen dosing has allowed the explosion of new and flavorful RTDs to be distributed on a widespread basis to more markets. Pressurizing a can or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottle with nitrogen adds stability to the container, allowing for easier, more efficient and effective stacking and shipping. Additionally, the fact that nitrogen is inert and will not react with other substances or ingredients makes it ideal for use in beverage applications and industry because it doesn’t impact the aroma or flavor of the packaged liquid.

  “Adding a nitrogen doser to a filling line is a pretty simple process,” said Jim Fallon, international sales manager for Vacuum Barrier Corporation (VBC). “Our VBC dosers are designed to be bolt-on additions to a filler, with no requirement for complicated electrical or control integration. After determining the proper application for dosing, meaning pressurization, inerting or nitrogenating, the next step is to find the optimal location on the filler for installation. VBC application engineers also determine the appropriate dosing unit based on the available filler space, the brewer’s line speeds and the dimensions of the container that the brewer is using. Then, along with the doser, sensors and control panel, all that’s needed to start dosing is your power supply or compressed air supply, depending on the models used.”

  Fallon tells Beverage Master Magazine that the optimal amount of nitrogen dosing recommended for any application is found by looking at the associated needs.

  “In the beverage industry, these applications vary from pressurizing non-carbonated drinks for container rigidity to purging oxygen from the headspace for extended shelf life and nitrogenating a cold brew coffee or beer,” said Fallon. “VBC engineers collect necessary details about the container volume and dimensions, fill heights, line speeds and the brewery’s target specifications and goals. Equipped with that information, we can guide customers to the appropriate settings to ensure the dose is sized properly and, just as importantly, makes it into the container in a timely and consistent manner.”

  Fallon says that for many years, the only new advances in nitrogen dosing had to do with the availability of increased dosing speeds. But today, VBC dosing units can consistently and reliably dose up to 2,000 containers a minute, more than enough for most filling lines. Because of this achievement, VBC was allowed to shift its focus on advancing and improving the reliability and ease of adjustability of its dosers.

  “We’ve continued to build out the functionality of our Servodoser that we initially released in 2016,” said Fallon. “We’ve reduced the parts prone to wear along with maintenance needs of the long-life servo actuator, which has a cycle life into the billions. In addition, a servomotor on the valve stem allows for dose amount adjustment without changing any mechanical parts. These improvements reduce downtime and allow on-the-fly adjustment of dosing parameters. Vacuum Barrier’s modular aseptic dosing systems are quickly becoming the go-to design with OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) fillers integrating aseptic filling lines.”

  For more information on Vacuum Barrier Corporation and nitrogen dosing, visit

Gas Blenders for Draught Beer Delivery Solutions: McDantim, Inc

  To successfully dispense draught beer, you need pressure, and that necessary pressure generally goes unnoticed until something goes wrong. As far back as the early 1800s, that pressure was supplied by compressed air, but as all brewers know, oxygen doesn’t play well with beer. The solution to this dilemma was to use CO2, which was good unless you tried to use 100 percent CO2 in draught beer delivery systems that needed to push the beer over long distances from huge brite tanks that were only safety-rated for up to 15 pounds of pressure. Unfortunately, increasing pressure to push more beer only puts the tank over the intended safety rating or puts the brewer at risk of over-carbonating the beer.

  But by using blended CO2 and nitrogen gas technology in the appropriate amounts, breweries and taprooms can maintain and balance their beer storage and delivery systems to ensure the integrity of their draught beers glass after glass, maintaining product integrity without losing any quality of taste, aroma or mouthfeel, just as the brewer intended. However, premixed cylinders were found to be expensive and generally offered the wrong blend for the beer industry. McDantim Gas Blending Technologies was the first company to introduce a gas blender that was technically sound enough and appropriate for the beer industry. 

  “It started in the late 1980s,” said Kayla Mann, sales and marketing director for McDantim, Inc. “McDantim’s previous owner’s father was approached by Guinness to develop an on-site gas dispenser. Unfortunately, industrial blenders wouldn’t work well because they couldn’t handle low-flow needs. So, McDantim devised a blender optimized for low flow rates to ensure that the beer secured in your keg or brite tank is the same beer dispensed into the glass for your thirsty customers. Our goal is to improve draught beer consistently and continuously worldwide.”

  Mann said that McDantim Trumix® Blenders are generally maintenance-free, with a plug-and-play mentality that demands no electricity or cumbersome maintenance schedules.

  “The goal here is to set it and forget it,” said Mann. “Brewery or taproom managers already have enough on their plate without having to worry about gas blending. Trumix® Blenders are easy to install and set up with regulators and can be nestled in wherever a brewer decides to locate their gas storage. All our products are customizable for different CO2 and nitrogen blending needs, so no matter what beer you are brewing and serving, you’ll get what you need. We use six eager and local breweries as our testing grounds with our products, so we receive real-life and real-time situational help to ensure our blenders and products do what breweries need them to do. Our custom-configured blender solutions improve efficiency and decrease waste and are based on useable volume, including the length of delivery lines, the number of available taps and servers and the forecasted number of kegs per hour you can expect to use at any given time. It comes down to how many servers will be drawing out of how many taps simultaneously. Busy, large taprooms with several servers that stay busy for lengthy amounts of time will need a higher flow rate than the smaller craft breweries.”

  Mann tells Beverage Master Magazine that McDantim also offers a free downloadable app that can be used anywhere within the depths of a brewery because it needs no internet connection.

  “We’re all about education to improve the quality of the draft beer industry across the board,” said Mann. “The app is there for you to know what blend of gases is optimal for the beer you are producing or if you are struggling with pressure or specific lines. We can easily walk you through the app and teach you how it can help and improve your draught beer. It’s just another tool for everyone from the beginner through the seasoned professional, and it is valuable for those that may be hesitant to ask for help as well.”

Conditions included in the calculations are:

•    The beverage temperature in the keg.

•    The required keg pressure.

•    The CO2 content of the beverage.

•    Elevation above sea level.

•    The gas blend (CO2 percentage) of existing blender.

Your input conditions help determine the following:

•     The optimal CO2/N2 blend for your specific location and conditions.

•     What range of pressures you can safely apply to your beverages for optimal carbonation.

•     Easy U.S. and metric unit conversions.

•     The predicted CO2 content that will be maintained under unusual conditions, like high elevation production.

Additionally, McDantim’s free gas blend app includes helpful calculators for other areas of your draught beer process, including these:

•    The cost analysis calculator provides insight into how on-site gas blending with Trumix® blenders can save you money.

•    The gas usage calculator will forecast and determine how many kegs of beer you can expect to dispense using Trumix® Blenders or premixed cylinder gas.

•    The line restriction calculator helps brewers with their draught system design to get the correct restriction values to keep the beer from under or over-carbonation.

  McDantim’s Trumix® Blenders can be used equally well with all clean CO2 and nitrogen sources, including high-pressure cylinders, bulk tanks and separators. 

To contact McDantim or get more information on gas blenders, visit

More Than a Pretty Face

Image Is Important, but so is Safety and Productivity

By: Cheryl Gray

While attractive packaging can draw new business for craft brewers, protecting what’s inside that packaging can make or break the bottom line. The same detailed attention is required to move products to store shelves swiftly. Fortunately, there are companies with specializations in each of these production areas.

  Among them is Industrial Physics, a test and inspection company considered to be a global leader in its field. Industrial Physics operates across a wide range of testing brands, each cornering a specialty. Those brands include CMC-KUHNKE, Steinfurth, Quality By Vision, Eagle Vision and TQC Sheen. Although it offers its customers multiple options, the company has a singular purpose: to guard the integrity of brands and products for manufacturers, production lines and laboratories across multiple industries worldwide.

  Steve Davis is the global product line director at Industrial Physics. He leads a team of experts who ensure that the company’s equipment protects the integrity of its customers’ metal packaging. Davis brings more than 20 years of engineering experience, with particular expertise in designing and developing metal packaging testing systems. He describes how Industrial Physics provides practical solutions for breweries large and small.

  “From seam inspection to label inspection, leak detection, code reading and abrasion testing, we’re here to protect the integrity of our customer’s beverage product.”

  Industrial Physics offers 40 testing applications and 2,500 products for a vast array of manufacturers, including breweries. Davis explains how the company leverages industry leadership to benefit its brewery clients:

  “The power and versatility of Industrial Physics allow us to support a broad range of breweries all over the world. And that really sets us apart from any other test and inspection provider. No matter the size of your brewery or the type of test you need to conduct, we can support you.

  The equipment allows organizations to test across a multitude of applications. Whether that’s ensuring that a can containing a fizzy drink won’t leak or that a cardboard box is strong enough to survive the turbulence of transit, the solutions are extremely diverse. We have a wealth of solutions available for the beverage space. From bottles to cans and kegs, we support beverage manufacturers of all sizes.

  But we don’t just provide equipment. At Industrial Physics, we’re equipped with some of the world’s finest minds within the world of beverage packaging and metal packaging. With an unrivaled portfolio of products that span so many specialties, we speak with our customers to ensure they’re discovering a solution that is suitable for their unique needs. With our equipment, we can help customers take their production and testing to the next level by investing in an instrument that will allow them to enhance their current setup and ultimately grow their offering by reducing waste and costs significantly.

  We also offer service solutions for our instruments, supporting customers with installation, calibration, preventative maintenance and repairs. No matter where you are in the world, we have local experts on the ground who can support your needs to ensure your instruments are operating efficiently.”

  One of the Industrial Physics brands is CMC KUHNKE. Davis describes its versatile options, all designed to save time and money:

  “Whether you’re a small brewery needing a compact and cost-effective solution like our useful CMC-KUHNKE seam saw, or a global giant within the world of beer looking for a more advanced, automated solution such as our CMC-KUHNKE Auto XTS, we can help you with this and everything in between!”

  Safeguarding the integrity of brewery products requires thought in every step of production. When it comes to keeping production lines moving swiftly and efficiently, Custom Conveyor Concepts promises to meet the needs of virtually any brewery. Matthew Gill, a co-founder of the company, has been in the packaging industry for some 40 years, working various floor positions before moving into management, sales and consulting. Gill explains how Custom Conveyor Concepts evolved:

  “In terms of the number of years in business, we are relatively new, as we were founded in 2015. However, Custom Conveyor Concepts (CCC) was formed after having been producing conveyors for more than 10 years for Exchange Team Advantage (ETA) and their customers. ETA was founded in 2005 as a used equipment supplier and OEM rep for virtually all aspects of liquid and powder packaging – depalletizing/unscrambling, filling, capping, labeling, coding, case packing and palletizing – literally, start-to-finish, turn-key applications. In doing so, we were requested to provide the connecting, often challenging, conveyor. After years of producing it for specific applications, the decision was made to make it available as its own commodity, and Custom Conveyor Concepts was born.”

  Gill emphasizes that his company’s products are designed to solve problems confronting breweries, whether accommodating tight spaces or tight deadlines.

  “We provide solutions. Whether it is space limitations, the need to expedite size changes or how to increase output, the only essentials required are your needs. Tell us what you want to do, and we will work with you to make it happen. We have worked with many startup companies, as well as very large, universally recognizable companies, and helped them grow. Our conveyors are versatile and expandable, as you can easily add, remove or re-route them. We only offer stainless steel, and our conveyors are constructed out of 11 ga., providing solid, durable equipment that will stand up to the harsh cleaning chemicals and offer ease in cleaning.”

  Gill adds that Custom Conveyor Concepts understands how to help breweries maximize their equipment investment while, at the same time, staying within budget.

  “We have worked with 600 cpm breweries down to 3 hd. fillers and manual crowners, when bottles were more prevalent. Our defining quality, in addition to the quality product we provide, is the attention we give to our customers and helping them achieve their needs, often providing options to help them stay within or define their budgets. We provide specialty equipment and service at ‘regular’ pricing. We don’t charge extra for non-stock items or detailed line layouts for placing the equipment. 

Our entire team’s product knowledge and industry experience are irreplaceable for providing application solutions. We do where others say it can’t be done. Many of our competitors don’t want to be bothered with small, low-dollar projects or small projects that require you to seek a solution. We excel at those.”

  Among the most popular products from Custom Conveyor Concepts are its serpentine conveyor and accumulation tables. Gill explains that while space is at a premium in most production facilities, it is more so in smaller operations. These two items, he says, offer ready solutions.

  “Utilizing a serpentine conveyor can convert the space a 5-foot conveyor consumes into 15 feet. The ability to make a roll change on a labeler without shutting off the filler makes the ROI for inline accumulation tables worth every penny.”

  Creating the bottling for breweries worldwide is the role of BPS Glass, a company based in Panama City, Panama, with its U.S. office in Atlanta, Georgia. As a family-owned business that began some 60 years ago, BPS Glass now boasts a reputation as one of the leading suppliers in the glass packaging industry. At its core is an emphasis on investing time, resources and effort in training its team members to create viable, innovative solutions for clients. Isidoro Cherem, a spokesperson for BPS Glass, says that the company works with breweries and distilleries that range from small craft operations to large commercial facilities. Cherem adds that dedication to optimal customer service sets the company apart from its competitors.

  “Thanks to our amazing team of experts and our commitment to excellence and creating long lasting relationships with our customers, we have grown to be the largest packaging supplier in the South and Central American region. We are constantly working towards expanding into the USA, and we are sure that we can replicate our success in the North American region.”

  BPS Glass offers more than 150 types of glass bottles for multiple industries, along with custom bottle designs. It also promotes services that include client-specific packaging and assistance with logistics to ensure timely, secure delivery of orders at the most cost-effective rates.

  Label design is another service BPS Glass provides its clients, with a focus on label colors and shapes, materials, textures and other aesthetic components. The company adds that it equips its clients with real-time marketing analysis, keeping an eye on marketing trends to help clients choose the right bottle, label and packaging for a product.

  Multiple choices in bottle closures are also on the company’s product roster. It points to its decades of knowledge in the chemical processes, physical considerations and industry safety standards to help clients safely package a product for consumers.  

  Whether using cans or bottles, breweries must factor in how best to protect the integrity of their product, both in terms of taste and safety of consumption. In addition, the efficiency of a production line depends upon investment in the right equipment that can move products swiftly and safely to store shelves. These considerations require the expertise of companies that know how to help breweries achieve these goals on time and within budget.