Past 10 to Watch Winner: Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse Continues to Grow

We talked to Kristen Needham, founder of Sea Cider, about the consistent growth of her company over the last decade.

382
Photograph provided by Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

Then

Kristen Needham is a sixth-generation farmer who believes cider is for celebrating — and worth celebrating. She and her husband Bruce run the apple orchard and cidery known as Sea Cider Farm & Cidery, one of the very first winners of the Douglas magazine 10 to Watch awards back in 2009.

Sea Cider’s ciderhouse overlooks the Haro strait. You can gaze over to James Island from the tasting room while sipping their selection of more than 15 ciders ranging from the ginger perry from the barrel series, which mingles zesty ginger and sweet notes, all the way to port-style black applejack with the sweet taste of blackberry.

Sea Cider’s philosophy on sociability, sustainability, and community led them to take part in programs such as the Lifecycles Fruit Tree Project, a program that gives fruit to Sea Cider to create and sell cider whose proceeds go directly back to the charity.

Owner Kristen Needham on her farm. Photograph provided by Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse.

Now

A decade has gone by and Sea Cider continues to grow at a steady pace as they expand their cider production, create new products and begin exporting to the U.S. With its stunning views, their location has become a popular wedding venue has been named one of the top agri-tourism locations on Vancouver Island.

Winning the Best in Show bittersweet cider at the Portland International Cider Cup in 2018, one of the most important competitions in the cider industry, has to be one of Bruce’s proudest moments in the past few years.

“It was my team that made [the award] possible, and I am very proud of that,” he says.

Looking back on Sea Cider’s 10 to Watch win, Kristen feels grateful and humbled to be included in the list of winners.

A decade ago Sea Cider was a well-kept secret,” she says. “The 10 to Watch win really put us on the map as a member of the Greater Victoria business community. Those connections have helped fuel growth ever since.”

Bruce and Kristen’s experience in the cider business now spans 12 years. So what does Kristen consider to be the most important lessons learned?

The importance of an inspiring leadership team, a clear vision, and a set of values that engage everyone on the team.”

This article is from March 21, 2019.