“I don’t have the time…”


…is a steaming pile of bs.

a few years ago, i was reading over some emails and i noticed that we were responding to donation requests that we were turning down: “…sorry, but we aren’t able to help you this year…” and i thought that was lame of us. we were able to donate, we weren’t out of money, we were just being selective on what donations we were making, and a few didn’t make the cut. the correct answer was, “…we will not help you this year…” it sounds a little crueler, but it’s also more honest. i made it a point to change our language with these responses.

i feel the same way when someone tells me (or i tell someone) “i don’t have the time” …it’s a cop-out. everyone has the exact same amount of time. barack obama has the same amount of time as the chump in their mom’s basement:* 24 hours/day. the only variable is how we use our time.

so what we really mean when we say “i just don’t have the time” is “i choose not to spend my time on that”. obviously there are some instances where we truly do not have the time, but most of the time, we’re trying to cover a choice with a white lie.

– ross

*i think technically, due to space-time relativity, people at higher altitudes have less time than those at lower altitudes (and people in the ISS)…but that’s microscopic and pointless semantics.

fart jokes: a time and a place


as the adage goes: “try to be everything to everyone…end up nothing to no one.” so let me state it for the record…downeast cider house is not above fart jokes. never have been. never will be. is everyone in the world on board for fart jokes? nope. are we going to lose customers due to our support of fart jokes? ‘fraid so.




the power of marketing


*disclaimer, there are no “political opinions” below…just marketing curiosity.

i’m not a politics guy. don’t care for it. don’t spend much time thinking about it. despite my apathy, of few bits of this crap have been jammed in my face over the past few months…and by far, the most interesting thing to me is the power of marketing…the creation of the story we tell ourselves.

trump: make america great again…say what you will about the guy, but the story is an easy one for certain people (and i suppose almost the majority of voters) to tell themselves. “america used to be awesome. things aren’t good enough for me/us. i want things to be better…like they used to be.” power of nostalgia. power of dissatisfaction. so despite people’s fears about whether this guy was “fit” to be the president, his story won out.

hillary: stronger together…pretty “boring” story to many. and from what i saw with political ads, there was also a whole lot of, “hillary clinton: she’s not the other guy”…which isn’t much of a story either.

so i guess it turns out that selling a country on a candidate isn’t much different than selling a country on a car or a brand of potato chips? seems kinda fudged up. probably why i have a distaste for politics.


cider slinga’s


there’s too much gold in here not to share. this is a text thread we have going for sales (and sales-ish) people as it sometimes gets lonely out there. i’ll try to update regularly.








(unfortunately the following doesn’t include jt’s dazzling rendition of tainted love to an empty bar)







to be continued…

– ross

over-achieve or under-achieve?


i wonder which, as a company, is a better position to be in?

if you’re over-achieving that’s awesome. it means you’re working hard and getting the most out of what you’ve got. it’s like the white guy wide receiver cliches. “he’s…a gym rat. high motor. deceptive speed. intangibles. scrappy.”

that’s great, parents would be proud, but it’s also a limited ceiling. if you’re getting the absolute most out of what you’ve got – be it your resources, market, ideas, product, etc – you don’t have much room to grow. say what you will about julian edelman, he’s never gonna be randy moss.

and speaking of randy moss…the under-achiever ain’t bad. it means you have a whole lot of room to grow and get better. and if you don’t get the most out of your potential, i bet it’s still sweet to be randy moss. or AI. both hall of famers.


austin’s story


every quarter we have a customer service competition. i got this submission…austin won’t hold the belt for Q3, but his story must be shared. as told from the man himself, i present, mr. austin gaquin does farmer willie’s:

Let me tell you about the day I accidentally started working for Farmer Willie’s.

It was an otherwise normal day. A warm, sunny August afternoon. I was strolling the streets of the Boston’s beautiful South End. Eventually I found myself indulging in the splendid array of draught beer available at Five Horses Tavern. A normal, luxurious day in the life of Austin — the kind of day a Max Goransson type can only dream of.

Whilst indulging I noticed two cans of Farmer Willie’s in the center of a small tray headed toward the back of the establishment. The tray was being carried by a human, of course.

Now, there are twenty-plus draught lines at Five Horses Tavern, so a pair of drinkers seeking Farmer Willie’s struck me. Had they had it before? Are they big fans? Did their curiosity of ginger beer overcome them?

Having spent many an afternoon on the roads and beaches of lower Cape Cod this summer, I more than once shared a drink with Farmer Willie’s co-founder Nico. There was always an aura of mutual respect between us, a sense that we’ve got each other’s backs out there.

So, on this lovely summer day at Five Horses Tavern, I followed the tray with two Farmer Willie’s cans to its destination, where sat two hopeful Farmer Willie’s virgins. I told them I liked the product, and was friends with one of the founders, and to the best of my ability I explained to them the complexities of ginger beer — which is to say, I told them it was ginger beer, and that it was refreshing.

Another pair of nearby diners overheard our conversation and asked me about Farmer Willie’s. I bought a can and let them try it.

It was at this very moment that I realized I had accidentally started working for Farmer Willie’s — which was, to the say the least, a startling realization. I like Farmer Willie’s and all, but I’m happy where I am. Or at least I thought I was, until I began this new life as a salesperson at New England’s craft ginger beer company.

Fortunately, the second pair of lunch-goers gave me an out when they asked if I worked for the company. Admittedly not sure where I worked anymore, I took a stab in the dark and told them I worked for Downeast Cider House.

Both pairs of lunch-time gourmands, four newfound ginger beer aficionados in total, erupted. We love Downeast Cider!!! It’s our favorite cider! No, it’s OUR favorite cider! Nuh-uh, OURS. They bickered and bickered.

“I’m not sure you realize,” I pensively remarked, “but we’ve just now engaged in a game of pay it forward. I think you’re responsible for teaching future diners, here or elsewhere, about Downeast Cider.”

They agreed, and asked me what to say.

I offered them three quick things that make Downeast different: we’re (1) unfiltered, (2) local, and (3) not from concentrate.

They said that was easy to remember, and they’d be happy to spread the word.

“Good apostles,” I didn’t say.

I returned to my spot at the bar.

On their way out, the first couple with whom I interacted told me I’d made a pair of lifelong Downeast Cider drinkers with my friendliness.

I thanked them for good conversation, secretly terrified that my new boss at Farmer Willie’s would be pissed.

exclamation point crutch


sometimes i send emails to the company with my thoughts on things…figured i could post them here for whatever they’re worth…. here’s the latest:

words are hard.

exclamation points are easy!

we sometimes use them as a crutch instead of a tool, because it’s easy to add a “!” than to come up with the appropriate words to describe a thing or situation.

particularly with brand messaging…take this facebook post:

join us at redstone liquors for a pumpkin blend tasting!

the “!” is a crutch to allow for lazy copywriting, without it we’ve got:

join us at redstone liquors for a pumpkin blend tasting.

that’s pretty damn vanilla and lame. rather than using a “!” to get away with bad copy, consider using words. it’s harder but more meaningful:

join us at redstone liquors for pumpkin blend samples, suggestive language, crude humor, and partial nudity.

and while not as important to me as brand messaging, consider this in your personal communication as well.


sarah: i sent you that form.
jim: thank you!

more meaningful:

sarah: i sent you that form.
jim: sarah, you saved the day, thank you so much for your help.

food for thought at least…..

– ross



i have a google alert for cider and this was in today’s batch:

that is the biggest pile of marketing garbage i have ever laid my eyes on…”This is a cider of the rarest character...Unlike most ciders, our…Cider is…gluten-free…” are you fucking kidding? i’m sure most people reading this are aware, but unless you’re doing something pretty odd, all cider is gluten free. garbage marketing at it’s worst.

fun story, brick brewing sold us our old canning line. the person i was negotiating with accidentally responded with their entire internal thread that included the lowest number they would take and information about how many days they had before it had to be out of their building…we got a good deal on that thing.


merry christmas, ya filthy animal….



christmas came, christmas went
eggnog gonna strut
OB’s two cents?
an axe to the gut

…35 days til cider season…

post script

let’s get a little weird


dafuq is this?


well, who knows…as we’re coming into the end of the summer, fall* – aka cider season – is right around the corner. we were discussing some stuff the other day, and i’m not sure whether it was a good idea or the fact that we’d been stuck in an 8’x8′ hot little room for 2 hours, but we got this idea for some adventures of this ridiculous cartoon can. i don’t want to spoil the fun, but it’s somewhat gory and slightly inappropriate. as a wise man once told me, “if an idea doesn’t make your palms sweat, it’s probably not that great of an idea.” so at least we’ve got that going for us…which is nice…stay tuned for the weekly adventures of this guy as we approach the 1st day of fall.

on a side note, i’d like to throw in a self-fellating nod.


next month’s inc magazine is the “inc 500” list, which is the 500 fastest-growing privately held american companies. at number 63 you’ll find the good folks here at downeast with a handsome 4,215.6% growth (over 3 yrs).** that’s pretty neat, i think.


*do you say fall or autumn? autumn sounds more…fall-y….but it also sounds kinda fancy…like ‘fall’ would be the captain of the football team and ‘autumn’ would wear a crested sport coat every day and get shoved in a locker.

**AND check out that sweet-ass ti84 silver edition. i’m sure the smart people at texas instruments are psyched their $200 graphing calculator is being used for simple addition and division.

Are you 21+ OR capable of lying on the internet?