Ladies, did you know that women consume almost 32 percent of craft product ( beer and cider) volume, almost half of which comes from women ages 21-34? Women are carefully choosing their craft beverages from businesses they trust. And it's suggested that Women choose craft beer and cider because those companies don't market to objectify women - at least not like their large-scale competitors.
In comparison, there are a low levels of female-run craft producers. The numbers are rising steadily, but they are still quite low. U.S Bureau and Labor Statistics found that women only make up 29% of the Manufacturing sector, whereas men make up 70%. That's insane. A striking difference.
One of the 29%, Pat Knittel has worked as a Winemaker in Napa Valley and Internationally for 15 years. She has now established her own company to manufacture craft cider. Pat describes this journey into cider as a natural choice, " Cider Making requires the same skills as Winemaking: great fruit, careful management of fermentation and seeing the product through to the bottle. Choosing quality fruit is essential as in the winemaking process. Creating this business takes into account the rich Apple farming history in Humboldt County, my childhood home. I couldn't think of a better place to start this business."
Now Pat has launched a Kickstarter Campaign to raise the funds to purchase bottling equipment that will set her up to compete against the many male-led craft brewers across the country.
Want to know more about Pat? I did. So I asked her the classic questions:
What clues did you have about your natural tendencies that led you do be a Creative?
I loved making art when I was very young and I became very interested in music as a kid. I believe I inherited my love of music from my Mother. I began to sing with local theater groups in Junior High and I ended up studying voice in High School. I was a voice major in college. I also have always had a strong interest in wildlife and nature and have always had a strong interest in science.
When did you decide to start your own business? And why this business?
I decided in May of 2014 to start this business. I had worked for 15 years in wine production in Napa and Sonoma Counties. I wanted to return to Humboldt County to start my own business and had an interest in making Cider. I knew that Humboldt County had a long history of apple orchards and I knew I could apply my winemaking background to Cider as well as to continue making wines that I love.
What was the best piece of advice you were given as you were starting out?
I honestly don't recall specific advice other than practical conversations around cost of goods and economies of scale from Winemakers I knew or have worked for. I feel that I was a very good observer of what worked and what was important to have in place for a wine brand. I worked for 8 years in a custom crush among 35 other small, boutique labels and I observed some succeed and others fail for many different reasons. I learned that the story behind a brand is extremely important as well as great packaging. Most importantly though, a quality product in the bottle is what will bring people back and what will sustain your reputation.
What do you do behind the scenes?
Usually I am doing cellar work... taking care of the cider and wines from start to finish. I am constantly tasting the cider and wines to be sure they are healthy and developing well and am always considering the next step as I get toward the bottling process. Sales is always on my mind and how to bring interest to my brands. There is also the practical side of paperwork, bookkeeping and being sure you are compliant with the state and federal government.
What is your inspiration for your work?
I have to say that the relationship with the farmers is high on the list of inspiration. I love my relationships with them and I love learning more about the fruit they are growing. Customers provide me with a great deal of inspiration through their feedback. I also find that keeping up with other ciders and wines in the marketplace and speaking with other makers keeps me especially motivated to try new and challenging techniques.
What is your goal during each project?
To make the best cider or wine I can given the materials I am given.
What are a few things people don’t know about you? Likely my history with music and that I enjoy painting crazy abstract pieces from time to time.
Want to support Pat and Wrangletown Cider Company? Here's your chance! Pat is in the final week of her Kickstarter campaign. She's very close to reaching her goal, but could use a little bit of a hand from us. Jump over to her Campaign to learn more about Wrangletown.