THOUGHT PIECE the carling team
Cider Maker Job Description
A cider maker manages the cider making process from sourcing raw materials through to ensuring the bottled product is safely dispatched from the cider house. A cider maker must understand all aspects of cider production including the pressing of fruit, fermentation process, testing of cider, bottling and sanitation.
The cider maker must ensure the production process meets HACCP and Quality System requirements. To do well in this role, you must be very methodical to ensure the quality of the cider produced is consistent. Individuals with wine making or beer making experience may already have many of the skills necessary to become a cider maker.
Cider Maker Responsibilities
The responsibilities of a cider maker which will vary depending on the production capacity and the types of cider being produced at the cider house. The primary responsibility of a cider maker is to manage all aspects of the production process and create a high-quality product.
- Sourcing raw materials
A cider maker will have to source raw materials for the cider production process. They must ensure that the raw materials being used in the manufacturing process are of sufficient quality and deal with any shortages of raw materials. They may work with farmers, wholesalers and other companies to source fruit and pressing services.
- Product formulation and new product development
Cider makers must be able to follow and create very specific formulas for making ciders. A cider maker may be required to test new blends of different juices. The cider maker must work with upper management and the cider house owner to make decisions about new products and the type of packaging that is being used for the product.
- Quality assurance throughout the cider making process
The juice, fermented ciders, and final product will have to be tested during the production process to ensure that quality is maintained. Quality assurance can range from manually inspecting and tasting the cider, through to using scientific tests to examine very specific components within the cider.
- Maintenance of HACCP and Quality System
Maintaining very high standards of food safety is critical throughout the entire production process and one of the key responsibilities of the cider maker. Sanitation and hygiene must be monitored very closely on the cider production line. The cider maker must ensure all staff maintain the highest levels of hygiene and that all equipment is thoroughly cleaned.
- Product Profiling & Organoleptic Testing
A cider maker must be able to undertake a sensory evaluate of the cider — its appearance, aromas, flavours, body, and finish.
- Tasting Panels
The cider maker must organise and participate in tasting panels.
- Managing, training and developing staff
The cider maker must be able to manage their team and train them in the processes necessary for cider making.
- Develop production performance goals and KPI’s
The cider maker must track the performance of their production line and make judgements on the quality of the final product. They must continually refine the production process while improvement is possible. They should also set goals for the cider house, which production staff will attempt to meet.
- Maintaining equipment on the production line and buying new equipment
The cider maker must ensure that all infrastructure necessary to the cider making process is working properly and is well maintained. They may also make equipment purchasing decisions and design new ways to improve production line efficiency.
- Stock management
The levels of raw materials, bottles and other materials must be carefully managed by the cider maker.
- Participate in sales activities
The cider maker may have to participate in events which are organised to promote the ciders produced.
Cider makers often have to work for long hours and may have unusual work hours. The working environment can be noisy, hot, smelly and humid. The operating environment can also be dangerous due to the moving machinery, forklifts and heavy objects involved, so adhering to Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) standards is particularly important for cider makers.
There is no formal education requirement to become a cider maker and many people become a cider making by apprenticing in a cider house. However, there are a number of qualifications which can help someone interested in becoming a cider maker.
- A science, wine making, food manufacturing, food science or management college degree can be useful
- HACCP food safety qualifications
- Occupational Health & Safety qualifications
Cider makers can come from a variety of backgrounds, but most positions require:
- 2-5 years of cider making experience
To demonstrate that you have a solid understanding of the cider production process
- Experience in the food & drink industry
Experience working with food safety standards, tasting panels, manufacturing processes are all highly regarded.
- Seasonal demand/control experience in a manufacturing environment
Being able to deal with warehousing and production line aspects of cider making is essential.
- Supervisory experience
A cider maker will usually have to manage other staff, so experience in a managerial position is useful
Key Skills of a Cider Maker
Like many positions in the beverage industry, a wide set of skills can come in handy for a cider maker. They could be working with everything from high-tech manufacturing processes and computers through to cider presses and old machinery. A cider maker may be working on their own or expected to manage a team of 100 people. Here are some of the key skills that are useful for most cider makers.
- Cider or wine making experience
- Ability to manage staff
- Organoleptic skills/experience
- Passion and curiosity for everything relating to cider including manufacturing processes, cider styles, and cider flavours
- Health & Safety knowledge
- Excellent IT skills
- Report writing and presentation skills
- Well developed analytical thinking skills
- Problem solving skills and self-confidence
- Fantastic communication skills
- Ability to deal with the logistics involved in cider making and transporting cider to wholesalers
- Broad technical and mechanical knowledge
- Solid under pressure
- Attention to detail — required for monitoring ciders, managing inventory, keeping facilities clean, and controlling costs
- High level organisational skills
- Able to learn new skills and embrace technological innovation
- Physical fitness and ability to lift heavy objects including tank lids and equipment