The Hills Cider Company and Project Futures Join Forces

Project Futures is back and bigger than ever for 2014. TVG is proud to continue their partnership with this amazing organisation and we’re excited to bring you an exclusive insight into their next event, Endless Summer. Their vision for this party is to gather 1000 young professionals in an afternoon of local craft beer/ cider tasting, music and fashion giveaway to bring a summer festival vibe with a purpose.

The Hills Cider Company is a major partner for Endless Summer, we managed to pin Janoah van Kekem, NSW State Manager, for chat about the brand and their involvement with Project Futures.

1. How did The Hills Cider Company come about?

Two good mates, Steve Dorman (qualified wine and cider maker) and Toby Kline (Hospitality Manager & owner Beverage Marketing & Consulting firm) from South Australia often chewed the fat over a few drinks toying with ideas, ranging from making their own wine, to brewing beer. The conversation quickly turned to the cider market which at the time had no representation of ‘real’ cider that was independently owned, focused on sustainability and supported only local Australian Farmers. What I mean when I say real cider is one that is made from 100% fruit, not concentrates or added sugars or flavours, there were commercial ciders out there, the majority of which were quite sweet and used added sugars and concentrates but there was a gap in the market for this craft style of cider. With Steve’s background and Toby’s industry knowledge they had the perfect foundation to begin experimenting with ciders. After travelling the orchards of Australia they settled on the Adelaide Hills which produced the fruit with the best balance of acidity and sugar levels for the cider they wanted to create.

2. What challenges were faced when starting the business?

The major challenges starting this business in the industry were the battle with the big multinational companies, and the road to educating consumers on what they should expect to see real cider taste like and be made up of. We made cider which we believed to be up there with the best in Australia, but with the limited education of consumers who had only been exposed to the commercial ciders that were available and with the majority of venues locked up in contracts the battle was to begin educating people on the simple things such as what ‘real cider’ actually meant, and the importance of supporting our local Australian Farmers, and working sustainably, as well as venue managers to not only look at the big dollar signs the big companies could offer.

3. The companies philosophy is very ‘local’ centric, why is it important to support local industries

The support of Local industries are what keep the economy ticking over, and keep jobs local. We are very big on supporting local and by local we mean Australian, we support local music and arts etc too. We use only 100% Australian produce, Australian Crushers, bottling lines etc. Australia also genuinely has some of the best produce in the world, we should use and support it, otherwise slowly it will not be feasible for these growers and businesses to continue and we will be taken over by cheaper substitutes such as Chinese concentrate used in a lot of ciders, this also means the money and jobs going overseas.

4. Where do you see the business developing in the next 3-5 years?

The cider category as a whole is going to continue to grow and diversify however the market is also becoming more and more saturated with new ciders and flavours coming out every month. The next few years will show the companies with the strongest brands with best quality ciders and operations sticking it out, not just the ones who jumped on the wagon to make a quick buck. The market is becoming more and more savvy on what they should be expecting to see and taste in their glass, which is great for all the craft ciders and breweries.

5. How did The Hills Cider Company get involved with Project Futures?

Through a mutual friend, I had met Steph a few times and been to a couple of her events. It is an amazing company and amazing achievement by her to be where they are today. I heard about the event and the basic idea, and immediately offered my help to look after the alcohol side of things bringing in only Australian made and owned craft beer and cider companies to expose people to these brands as none of us have the money the big guys do to market ourselves, and give cash handouts for causes such as this, in this way we are all able to give something. Another big thing that a lot of us smaller craft brands have in common is our focus on giving back to community and charities and events like this are ideal.

6. Can you us tell about the Endless Summer event and the The Hills Cider Company involvement?
The Endless Summer Event is all about having a good time, basically we all love to go out, drink, eat food, see live music, go to cider and beer tastings, and we are all happy to pay for it. This is giving people the opportunity to support a great cause while still having fun, the two can go hand in hand! It will basically just be a big party with tastings, live music and Dj’s, food trucks, and the ability to socialise with a large group of like minded people… Everyone loves a Sunday Session! The Hills Cider Company has taken on major alcohol sponsor and organisation of the craft beer and cider companies to be involved with tastings etc. This is not a once off however, as in most things we do, the relationship is aimed at being a long and successful one.

ENDLESS SUMMER will be taking place in October this year, keep an eye for more information in the coming months.

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