Consumers are the beneficiaries of the current cider revival. With more and more new cideries bringing craft ciders to market, cider lovers have a remarkable array of cider producers and ciders from which to choose. However, consumers are also themselves helping to bring new cidermakers to market by contributing to an increasing number of crowdfunded campaigns by established and would-be cider houses.
The “CrowdFunding” movement was begun by Kickstarter, a website that allows anyone to very easily expose their fundraising campaign to literally millions of people, and joined by other companies such as Indigogo. Any and every type of project you can imagine has raised funds via crowdfunding. Fundraisers explain what they are doing and why (often in videos uploaded to the crowdfunding sites) and explain to potential donors what they get if they donate $10, $50, $100, $1,000, $5,000, etc to the campaign.
Sometimes donors give to crowdfunded campaigns to get the goodies being offered. Sometimes they give because they can and because like the sound of the project. To-date, well over a billion dollars have been raised via crowdfunding for new businesses, business expansions, art projects, non-profit ventures and other projects by Kickstarter alone.
This opportunity hasn’t been lost on potential cidermakers looking for a chance to raise cash for their venture outside of traditional funding channels.
Among the cideries that have used crowdfunding to help launch or expand their business are:
Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider: $16,317
Cunningham Creek Hard Cider: $25,006
The Lost Apple Project: $14,223
Cider Riot: $20,686
Bishop Cider Company: $20,139
Homestead Hard Cider: $11,127
Lake Drum Brewing: $12,196
A the time of publishing of this article, there are seven cideries and potential cideries looking for funding via either Kickstarter or Indigogo. Shepard’s Hard Cyder is a perfect example of the kind of cider-related crowdfunded campaign you’ll find.
Shepards is hoping to raise $20,000 through their crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo in order to add a new tank to their small production facility in Wisconsin where they already produce artisan hard cider from an organic orchard on their farm. However, they have run out of production room and can’t meet demand without new equipment. Shepards has already raised $12,700 of the $20,000 they are looking for as a result of 80 separate people agreeing to help fund their efforts to one degree or another.
As with all Crowdfunding, Shepards is offering those donating to their cause a little more than a simple thanks. For example, $10 gets you a bumper sticker. $50 gets you a DVD about Restoration Agriculture. $250 Gets your named engraved on the new tank they hope to purchase with the proceeds of their campaign. $500 gets you “cider for life!”.
Shepards crowdfunding campaign is working so far for the simple reason that they have a compelling story to tell. The folks behind Shepard’s are committed to sustainable agriculture with a goal of restoring old agricultural land…as well as make a great artisan cider. It’s an idea that you can get behind and in the end, this is the reason most people agree to contribute to crowdfunding efforts, be it merely $10 or $500
Among the other cider-related projects currently seeking the approval and the money of the crowd are: