Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider Signs Lease for Production Cidery, Accepts New Investment

Portland, Oregon’s Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider announced plans last week to move its operations into a 21,000 sq. ft. building that will allow the company to double its capacity and meet growing demand for its products.

Reverend Nat’s has signed a five-year lease on a property owned by Shobi Dahl, the co-founder of baking company Dave’s Killer Bread, and will move into a new production facility located about a mile from the its existing cidery in early 2018.

“My team has been looking for a larger cidery for more than a year, but we had very high expectations, including staying in the historic Albina township of Portland,” Reverend Nat’s founder Nat West said in a press release. “Shobi approached me about a building he was looking to lease to an entrepreneur, and we immediately found common ground. I couldn’t be happier with the arrangement.”

West told Brewbound that Dahl has also made a “very minor, far less than majority” investment in the cidery.

“It’s a better-than-market-value lease term, and that represents his investment,” West said. “There is a small amount of money, but it’s related to tenant improvement. So the value is in the lease terms.”

Last year, Hawthorne Capital purchased an undisclosed minority stake in Reverand Nat’s and obtained seats on the company’s board. However, West said he, along with family and friends who initially helped fund the business, have retained a “controlling interest” in the company. As new investors have come on board, Hawthorne Capital’s interest in the cidery has been diluted, West said, while he and other investors have retained the ability to increase their own stakes in the company.

“It all worked out according to plan,” West told Brewbound.

Reverend Nat’s, which was founded in 2011, moved into its existing production space in 2012. That location will undergo renovations, and its taproom and retail operations will be expanded, West said. The company also leases two additional spaces for warehousing and packaging, adjacent to its production facility. It plans to vacate those spaces over time and as it moves into its new location.

The new, larger facility, along with additional fermentation tanks, will allow Reverend Nat’s to immediately double its output to about 10,000 barrels annually. The company will eventually be capable of producing 25,000 barrels of cider annually, West said. Last year, it made 4,500 barrels of cider, and the company is on pace to produce 5,500 barrels in 2017.

“We’re just bursting at the seams here, and Oregon continues to take more and more product,” West said. “Our growth is primarily coming from our existing markets, but that being said … we started expansion into new markets this summer with full knowledge that we will be into a new production facility relatively soon.”

Reverend Nat’s products are currently available in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Montana, New York, western Canada and Japan. West said the company plans to expand its footprint into Massachusetts, North Carolina and Austria by the end of the year.

Additionally, West told Brewbound that Reverend Nat’s has begun packaging its top two brands — Revival Hard Apple and Sacrilege Sour Cherry — in 6-packs (12 oz. cans) after installing a Wild Goose canning line in August. Sacrilege cans began hitting store shelves last week, and Revival cans will be released soon.

“I expect my business in Oregon to double over the course of the next 18 months or so just with the introduction of cans,” West said. “That alone is a huge amount of volume.”

Reverend Nat’s had previously offered those products in a single-serve 500 mL bottles.

“We’ve been selling some of the world’s greatest cider in some of the world’s worst package to date,” he said.

West said the move into aluminum will allow his company to compete more effectively in its home state of Oregon, where the top-selling local cider brand is 2 Towns Ciderhouse, which packages its offerings in 6-packs (12 oz. cans).

“The price to the consumer [of 6-pack cans versus 500 ml bottles] is vastly different,” West said. “And with our cans, we’re price matched with 2 Towns.”

West added that his company plans is to discontinue sales of its 6-packs in 12 oz. bottles in the near future.

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