ARMADA, Michigan — One of the fastest growing craft hard cider companies in the US, according to Neilsen Data, continues to mature. Blake’s completed a $2 million production expansion last year, giving the Michigan cidery the ability to produce over 128,000 barrels annually. With the production capacity to meet ever-increasing demand, Blake’s is now focusing on investing in it’s Sales and Marketing teams, adding several positions to both.
As a major part of this investment, the hard cider company announced today that Scott Roberts has joined Blake’s Hard Cider Company as the Vice President of Sales & Marketing following nearly two decades in the beer industry. Roberts performed various Sales & Management positions over his 13+ years of work at the wholesale level and spent the last 5 years with Portland Oregon’s Craft Brew Alliance (NASDAQ: BREW), and most recently with Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
A graduate of Michigan State University, Roberts also holds a Master of Science from Concordia University along with numerous industry credentials including Level 2 Certified Cicerone, Master Brewer’s Association of the America’s Beer Steward, and several Siebel Institute of Technology Certifications.
“It’s exciting to see our business evolving and our various departments continue to grow and enhance their functions. When your business begins in a garage experimenting with cider, with high aspirations, there isn’t a more fulfilling feeling than to see it all come to fruition,” said founder and owner Andrew Blake. “If we wanted to continue to be at the for-front of the cider category, in an increasingly competitive market, we needed to make an investment in someone that can complement our business growth.”
Blake’s Hard Cider is available in 18 states now and is currently up 44% over last year with a commitment to drilling down in its home state and Midwest footprint.
Blake’s finds itself in a healthy position as a regional craft brand, as macro-cider has faced a rocky few years. Tara Nurin of Forbes stated, “While total off-premise sales dropped to $470 million from their 2015 peak of $536 million, smaller [cider] brands actually grew – 41% in 2016 and 30% in 2017…”.
Director of the USACM (United States Association of Cider Makers), Michelle McGrath said, “The declines are driven by dips in the sales of national brands. If you look closer at the data, the real story to tell is continued double-digit growth of regional and local cider brands.”
Blake said that Roberts has been hired to alleviate its Marketing and Sales department from being spread too thin. “This opportunity gives our Marketing Director, Chelsea Iadipaolo and our Director of Sales, Aaron Lanctot, the ability to expand our efforts and allots more time to improving our approach on key accounts, business development, and distributor relations.”
Lanctot has been with the company since late 2015 and has taken it from one state at 2,000 barrels, to 18 states with projections to sell over 25,000 barrels this year. Lanctot will continue to develop relationships with key accounts and manage over 120 distributors in the cidery’s footprint. With strong chain and distributor relationships, the farm-residing company sees no signs of slowing down any time soon.
To find Blake’s Hard Cider near you, check out their cider locator at www.blakeshardcider.com/cider-finder