Marketing Upheaval

A Craft Cider Pivots and Finds Its Brand Voice

March 18, 2020 Creative Outhouse Season 2 Episode 31
Marketing Upheaval
A Craft Cider Pivots and Finds Its Brand Voice
Show Notes

Jason Marraccini and Nicole Wheeler from Treehorn Cider join us to share their triumphs and setbacks of starting a hard cider business while keeping their marketing jobs. Their journey includes how they learned to pivot and uncover their true brand voice.

Hey everyone, this is Rudy Fernandez from Creative Outhouse. I want to start by saying thank you to all our listeners. We have listeners in big cities like Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, but also St. Francis, Kansas and Boardman, Oregon. And thank you to our international listeners in Germany, France, Israel, and even a handful of listeners in Tunisia. Thanks for listening, everyone. But now we want to hear from you. We want to know what you think of the show. What else you'd like to hear? Which episodes had the biggest impact? So Email us at So let's start the show. 

Welcome to Marketing Upheaval. My guests are Jason Marraccini and Nicky Wheeler, founding partners of Treehon Cider in Marietta, Georgia. Both have had successful marketing careers and then a few years ago decided hey, why don't we make a cider? Treehorn is still early on in its growth but it's fanbase is growing. We're here to talk about marketing a new product in a new category, the booze business and what it takes to turn an idea into a company all while keeping your day job. Also, we're going to drink some hard apple cider. So welcome, folks. Thank you.

So how did you go from thinking, "hey, this might be a neat idea" to "we're going to do this"?

Jason Marraccini: When we tell the story. I like to say that it's my wife's fault. So my wife, Davina who who works for the EPA was at a sustainable small business conference in Asheville. And one of the presenting small businesses was a hard cider operation. When she came back and we were just kind of debriefing after the kids were in bed, she was just really taken with, you know, what a cool, business model. Cider was kind of taking off, small footprint, very, obviously, because she's with the EPA, you know, the eco-friendly end of it is important. But we got to talking about it. And then we went out to dinner and over a few bottles of wine with friends of ours who ended up being our business partners, just really couldn't get the ideas out of our head that ciders taking off. We have apple crop in Georgia. Nobody's doing it yet, but it seems like a hot market segment. And we bounce it off some, some friends of ours in the restaurant industry, and they all seem to agree that like, wow, yeah, if there was a local product, it would do really, really well, just on the basis of being local, even if it wasn't, I hate to say that. But even if it wasn't great, yeah, and obviously, that's very important to us that it is a great product.

Rudy: It is a great product, by the way, I'm drinking it.

Jason: But yeah, that's kind of where the idea came from. And then it sort of got momentum. From there, we put together a business plan. We went and looked for some outside investment money, which we raised, in the grand scheme of things, pretty quickly. I feel like I mean, probably over the course of like four or five months, and then off we went.

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