The Little Apple (Mead) that Could

When you love something, in the back of your mind you are always wondering if the rest of the world is going to love it as much as you do! Of course, this is especially the case with any creative project. (“Is my husband going to love this hand-knitted scarf as much as I do, or is he just going to smile lovingly and say it looks fine?”) But, when you decide to make a business out of it, that fear is even more pronounced. Is our target audience going to be as thrilled with this as we are? Are they going to be willing to actually pay money for it? Or are we going to sit on cases and cases of the stuff wondering where we went wrong?

Luckily, that hasn’t been the case for us. Actually, we have been dealing with the “upside” of success, running out of product. We just can’t keep the stuff in stock! Everyone tells me it’s a “good” problem to have and I see that being out is preferable to sitting on hundreds of bottles that we can’t give away. However, having to tell our customers that we are out of their favorite flavor is not an easy thing to do.

Forecasting sales and demand has got to be one of the hardest things for a new business to do. When we were making our business plan, we talked to other small wineries in the area and asked what kind of production and sales they had when they started up. We took their numbers, and then cut them down, realizing that most people won’t have even heard of mead, let alone be looking for some to purchase. And then we crossed our fingers, hoping that we were in the ball park! And it worked, for the most part.

But here we sit, after a year and a half of business, almost out of Spiced Apple Mead… again…. We ran out of Spiced Apple the first time after only being open for two months! (Just before Thanksgiving! Not good!) We ran out 5 times during the first year we were open. The last time we ran out, it was only for a week and we counted that as a great achievement! This time, we may actually get it into the bottles before we run out in the Tasting Room. Maybe….

Who would have guessed the popularity of this spicy little gem? “Apple Pie in a Glass!” I know I love it, but, we had no idea just how popular it would be. It has become our flagship mead and the one everyone walks in asking about. And I wonder, as it outsells everything else, how did we get so lucky with this recipe? And what will be the next big craze?