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An Honest & Vulnerable Take on Owning a Business


Craftlab: The Podcast Episode 9 With Jenn Root Martell, South City Ciderworks

Jenn Root Martell has the unique distinction of being the Craftlab Podcast’s first cidery owner, and we have the unique opportunity to talk with her during a time of enormous transition in her life — in the midst of a cross-country move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Maine with her husband and young daughter. 

Jenn is the founder of South City Ciderworks, a cidery in San Bruno she launched in 2015 after another cross-country move from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. She loved cider. Her husband loved cider, and they thought, How great could it be to launch a business that revolves entirely around a point of passion? 

As often happens in the world of entrepreneurship, the reality of small business ownership turned out to be very different from the vision. 

“It’s a constant wave of small, short-term panic and stress. That’s just owning a company,” she says. 

At the same time, a little time to reflect has made the rewards a little more clear. 

“There’s nothing quite as rewarding and awesome as sitting at the taproom and watching people order your cider and sit and enjoy it — or being out in the market and the person sitting next to you at the bar orders it,” she says. “It’s creating something you really wanted to drink and realizing there is a market for this, and people are getting the same enjoyment out of it that I did.” 

In this episode, Jenn talks about her journey with honesty and vulnerability, offering us a real look into the oftentimes challenging world of small business ownership in the craft industry. She also talks through what’s next and makes it clear that, although she’s moving, she’s not leaving the business. 

Cheers! And thank you for listening. 

Show Notes: 

About South City Ciderworks

We founded South City Ciderworks in 2015 as an independent urban cider company to make great cider and a difference. Using only fresh-pressed, West Coast apples our ciders are crafted to be well balanced and easy drinking. We support nonprofits focused on helping the community, animals, and the environment. We’re here to Make Cider Make A Difference. 

For more information, visit the South City Ciderworks website here.

Jenn’s Podcast: “Courage and Other C Words

Welcome to the new start-up cider podcast! Hi! I’m Jenn. And along with my husband Alex I run a small hard cider company just south of San Francisco. I want to take you through my journey of starting South City Ciderworks and delve deep into the details of creating a product, building a market, and educating consumers about cider. But it’s not just my story of being a woman in this male-dominated industry that I want to tell. You’ll hear from other ladies in the biz as well!I know there are a lot of women out there, grinding it out everyday. So if any of my stories and experiences can entertain, educate, inspire, or empower you as you go through your daily tasks, then I have accomplished my goal! Join me on this wild ride whether you’re looking to start a business, work in the alcohol industry, or are just interested in what goes on behind that glass you just ordered at the bar. Slainte!

Jenn’s book recommendations

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