New Edmonds Hard Cider Business Launches with Crowd Funding
Hard cider venture hopes to leverage the popularity of crowd funding and the 223% growth in U.S. hard cider sales to kick start a new business.
Edmonds, Wash.–The launch of a new Edmonds-based business, Rainshadow Hard Cider, has an advantage American colonialists didn’t have in the 1850s when cider was more popular than beer. Crowd funding. That’s the term for raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people via the Internet to fund a project.
“Crowd funding is already pretty popular and hard cider sales have
increased tremendously over the last two years, so I decided to make the most
of the two trends,” explained the owner of Rainshadow Hard Cider, Steve
Kaiser. Nationwide, hard cider sales increased 223% from January through
mid-August 2013, according to market research firm SymphonyIRI Group.
Crowd funding will be used to cover some of the start-up costs. Websites, such
as www.kickstarter.com, attract people
who want to invest in a fun or cool new business or project. They may invest $5
to $1,000 each to show their support and be part of something they find
appealing. It’s not uncommon to see $10,000 to $20,000 raised by hundreds of
supporters for a new brewery or cidery.
Rainshadow is asking for $13,500 and it’s all or nothing. If pledges don’t
total the target amount, then no funds are received. However, if more than the
target is pledged, then the business may invest all funds raised minus the fees
charged by the website. Investors receive special premiums, or logo gifts,
depending on the level of support.
“Crowd funding will hopefully pay for my apple press, fruit grinder and
pasteurization equipment,” explains Kaiser. “Without this support, I would not
be able to scale up my operations as planned.” More information about crowd
funding for Rainshadow is available at http://www.rainshadow.com/
“I worked in the hard cider industry 10 years ago and I’ve never seen so much
interest in hard cider as I’ve noticed in the last year,” said Kaiser. “That’s
why I decided to go through the lengthy state and federal license process to
begin commercial cider operations. Consumers are leading the industry and the
Seattle market is at the forefront of this new trend.”
Kaiser says the reasons are simple. “Hard cider is refreshing, it’s a great
alternative to beer and the main ingredient—apples—are grown locally. What’s
not to like?”
Rainshadow is blending apples grown in Edmonds, Lopez Island and Quincy in
eastern Washington. It takes about 20 pounds of apples to make one gallon of
cider. The process is labor intensive, difficult and slow but it produces a
unique hard cider style the large producers can’t match.
“I believe in a hands-on approach to carefully manage the cider’s
quality,” said Kaiser. I planted apple trees, picked the fruit, crushed
the apples, pressed the pomace, and will ferment and age the juice in my
The partial government shut down changed the start up’s production strategy and
business status. One last approval from the federal license agency, TTB, was
required for a liquor license when it got held up from the agency’s closure.
Apples had already been picked in anticipation of the license approval. Without
it, Kaiser had to freeze all fresh juice and is now waiting to thaw it for
fermentation when final approval is received.
While Kaiser has some secret cider recipes he can’t wait to use for production,
one of the ciders will be determined by the public. “I intend to serve samples
to the public and gather tasting comments that will ultimately determine a
final recipe.” This grassroots approach, and the use of social media, will
allow the Rainshadow to market itself in ways not possible during colonial
Contact: Steve Kaiser