Eleanor Leger wants to explain the economic silliness behind producing and selling true artisan cider—in her case artisan ice cider. She wants to explore the “cidernomics” of what she calls the “underdog economy”. She’s fairly well suited to do this too. Her academic background is economics. Her career includes 20 years in the corporate world when she worked for “the man” and learned capitalism up close. Her current careers is making some of the best cider in the land at Eden Specialty Cider in the state of Vermont.
So, she started a blog appropriately entitled, Cidernomics.
On the surface, Leger’s blog is a series of posts outlining the various concerns, costs, economic models and theories, financial considerations, spreadsheet tricks, elbow grease and lunacy that it takes to produce a profit-making and selling artisan cider. In one sense it’s a warning to others who want to follow in her footsteps. But I think it’s pretty clear that she’s undertaking this literary effort to encourage others to take the lunacy leap, and to give good reason for others to support those contributing to the underdog economy.
In the blog’s About Section Leger writes:
“Our best hope for success is that consumers start to vote for underdogs with their wallets. People can and do make a difference through their consumption choices. We need what’s left of the middle class to understand that supporting underdogs is not only a way to eat and drink better, but the only way to bring back our communities, and grow our middle class.”
It’s a compelling pitch. Even more compelling, though, is Leger’s familiar tone and witty asides that she brings to her writing. Each post (to date she has penned seven entries) is essentially a short and sweet cider-making economics lesson spelled out in simple, easy to understand language. And despite her simple and familiar tone, you come away from each installment with a surprisingly intimate understanding of what economic headwinds small, artisan producers face…at least as they pencil out on paper.
When she gets as far as she wants to go with this project, Leger will most certainly turn Cidernomics into a little book. She must. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the cider classes, internships, fermentation science classes and other educational efforts budding cidermakers are embracing in advance of their jump into the actual process of making and selling cider.
I highly recommend Cidernomics. It’s eye-opening. It’s produced with an eye toward helping others. And it’s being created by one of America’s premier cidermakers. What’s not to love.