Hub Spotlight: Three Cats Cider
Cats Cider Co. bridges together the collective experiences of farmer Keshia Krucker and brewer Zach Vernon. Together they turned a year of excess apple production on Keshia’s family farm, Manorun, into a creative endeavour. Their philosophy is quality, sustainability, and community. Three Cats Cider company focuses on sustainability from sourcing ingredients directly from her family farm, to responsibly packaging and using environmental cleaning solutions. Their business will launch with a bottle shop and expand into a taproom offering on-farm experiences.
We sat down with Three Cats Cider to get the inside scoop on how they started their business and what they hope to get out of the Hub Incubator Program.
How did you come up with Three Cats Cider?
My family farm was experiencing an abundant year of apples and was looking for ways to use them. My partner, Zach, stepped up to the challenge, cleaned off a dusty apple press from our barn, and organized a fun day with friends to learn how to make hard cider.The more we held these community apple pressing events and experimented with foraged and farm-harvested ingredients, the more confident we felt in the quality of our cider. It seemed like the a natural progression of my family farm and the perfect way to incorporate Zach's background in professional brewing into my world of farming
What motivated you to take the next step and apply to the Hub?
In the midst of another lockdown and wrapping up on the farming season, I found myself with lots of downtime. Alongside Zach, we decided to start brainstorming ideas and really start to explore the notion of starting a farm cidery. We realized there was nothing stopping us from turning a distant dream of ours into a reality. We reached out to local cideries and were recommended this program from a past participant who owns a cidery as well.
What do you hope to get out of the Hub?
Our main goal going into this program was to connect with other local businesses and to learn from one another. We were also hoping to have a program that would hold us accountable and encourage us to persevere through the start-up challenges we were facing.
Do you have any advice for someone with a business idea in mind, but are not sure what to do next?
Our advice is to connect with similar businesses to ask questions and learn from their process. This can sound like a daunting idea, but it will help either reaffirm your goals or encourage you to pivot in a different direction that is more feasible. The same applies to reaching out to mentorship programs like the Hub, accountants, lawyers, and other professionals that can help you on your path.
Housed within the John F. Wood Centre for Business & Student Enterprise (Wood Centre), the Hub is a business incubator designed to support early-stage business ideas with high-potential, but unproven business models. The goal of the Hub is to provide University of Guelph students (undergraduate and graduate) and alumni the opportunity to build a successful business enterprise in a supportive learning environment.
The Hub has a tiered program that ensures a good mix of start-up companies at varying stages of growth. “Hub Start” is for ventures still getting their idea off the ground. These ventures typically have a great team and a great idea, but still have not demonstrated product-market fit with traction. “Hub Build” is for ventures with traction looking to refine their business model and/or scale.