Happy Apples Partners With Nobleton’s To Offer New Drink | Local News
The owners of Happy Apples are teaming up with Nobletons Distilling House to create the apple company’s first adult drink.
The company plans to open a tasting room and distillery in its Marthasville orchards on October 15, called Nobletons Distilling House in Happy Apples Orchard.
Nobletons – the maker of Duckett Rum, People’s Gin and other spirits – has moved from Beaufort, where it was founded in 2017, to Marthasville, where it will use Happy Apples juice to make Marville Apple Brandy, the name being a game on the location of the orchard.
This is the first time that the caramel apple and apple cider producer has entered the adult beverage market.
The expansion comes as Happy Apples explores ways to recoup revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, Happy Apples co-owner Ed Reidy said. Demetrius Cain, owner of Nobletons, said the distillery will be open year round. He said the orchard and distillery tours will cost around $ 15 to $ 20 and will include information about the orchard, the fermentation and distillation processes, as well as a tasting at the end of the tour.
Reidy said construction of the 7,500-square-foot barn-style distillery and tasting room is expected to begin in late winter, with cost details and a builder to come.
Reidy owns Happy Apples with his wife, Joette, whose father, Steve Lochirco, founded Happy Apples 51 years ago. Reidy declined to share details of the partnership with Nobletons, but said the companies would “separate” the revenues.
Cain said he takes pride in sourcing high-quality ingredients locally, which is why he approached Happy Apples about a year ago. He said that much of the brandy consumed in America comes from Europe and that he would like Nobletons to become a wholesale brandy producer.
Currently, Cain is the only distiller, but he has a few sales and distribution employees. The Nobletons deliver to 42 states. He expects the first bottles of unaged apple brandy to be available in late spring, with aged bottles ready by fall.
The pandemic has forced the owners of Happy Apples to reinvent their business model. With the rise in popularity of hard ciders and the difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Reidy said Cain could not have approached him at a better time.
As with most businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has made operations difficult for Happy Apples. Reidy said most of his problems were related to transportation.
Previously, the company had its own freight line, LFP Transport, which delivered apples during the fall and shipped other cargo for other companies during the off-season.
Reidy said it was not possible to keep the company, which employed 10 people and had 12 trucks before the pandemic. The company’s warehouse is now a transload facility.
Now Reidy has said he needs to outsource his shipment, which has “doubled, tripled and quadrupled in price.”
Reidy said the changes in shipping were also felt in the production lines.
“The big problem in business is instability,” Reidy said. For example, Reidy said he usually orders the China Caramel Apple Sticks in January. Most years they arrive in Franklin County in midsummer, well in time for the fall harvest. This year, the sticks didn’t arrive in Los Angeles until August. Reidy said if his broker hadn’t come to the Port of Los Angeles in person, the sticks could still be there today. Cardboard boxes are also in short supply due to the high demand for online shopping, and rising oil prices have pushed up the price of plastics, which Happy Apples uses for packaging.
“It’s been an eventful and crazy year. And expensive, ”said Reidy.
Unlike other companies, Happy Apples has not experienced a labor shortage, which Reidy attributes to a pay rise to $ 14.50 an hour and the employment of migrant workers. But workers in the fields are picking fewer apples due to a late spring frost that Reidy said killed about 90 percent of the apples in the company’s Marthasville orchard and more apples nationwide. He said he had never seen the price of apples so high.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the weighted average price in the Midwest region for a 3-pound bag of Jonathan apples, the variety grown by Happy Apples, is $ 3.06 this week, up from $ 2.43 one year ago.
Reidy said his prices for retailers who buy butterscotch apples have increased by about 12%, although he said he’s not sure what that would look like for a normal consumer. Because the company has raised the prices of its apples, Reidy said he expects revenue to increase, and while his costs are also on the rise, he is confident that Happy Apples will end the year in the dark. .