Eden Specialty Ciders (formerly Eden Ice Cider) is poised for growth with $200,000 in permanent working capital from the Flexible Capital Fund, a socially responsible investment fund that provides flexible debt to growth-stage companies in Vermont’s sustainable agriculture and food systems, forest products, and clean technology sectors.
Eden Specialty Ciders has grown 248% in a five year period and outgrew their cider making capacity at their own Eden Orchards in West Charleston. In 2013 their cidery operations moved to the Newport Tasting Center in Newport, where they made additional investment. To fully realize the growth potential in the growing ice and hard cider market in an industry that takes several years to bring the product to marketing given the growing season and sale cycle, Eden Specialty Ciders was looking to expand their working capital without further borrowing against inventory levels.
The flexible financing model provided by the Flex Fund offers “near equity” capital in the form of subordinated debt with royalty financing which provides for flexible payments based on Eden Specialty Ciders’ revenue. The $200,000 loan will support operations to profitability, inventory purchases, and new marketing/sales/outreach staff. Additionally, they received a $42,000 equipment term loan through Yankee Farm Credit to help grow the hard cider line.
“With the recognition we received as Rate Beer #1 Cidery of 2015 and Best in Show for our Sparkling Semi Dry Cider at last year's Great Lakes International Cider Competition, we are ready to expand our hard cider production capacity. The equipment financing from Yankee Farm Credit and expansion capital from the Flexible Capital Fund give us the support we need to do this. Ultimately we are excited to showcase the special heirloom and cider variety apples we work with from Scott Farm, Windfall Orchard, and our own Eden Orchards. It is the quality of this fruit that makes our ciders especially delicious,” says Eleanor Leger, founder and co-owner of Eden Specialty Ciders.
Eden’s sourcing from local orchards is part of what makes them a good match with the Flex Fund’s mission.
“Eden Specialty Ciders is a great example of a company that supports Vermont’s working landscape through their local purchasing practices (90% of the apples they purchase for cider is grown in Vermont). They work hard to minimize their carbon footprint and promote healthy soils through biodynamic growing practices in their own orchards, use of recyclable packaging and composting their waste,” says Janice St. Onge, Flex Fund president. “They provide a premium product in a growing market, have an established reputation as a quality producer, and very much support the Northeast Kingdom community. This is exactly the kind of business we want to see grow and thrive in Vermont.”
Leger confirms the mission compatibility, “at Eden we want to build a good business for the long run. Our goals include employment, environmental and economic sustainability. The Flexible Capital Fund provides us critical financing to reach our economic goals, with a more flexible repayment mechanism. We really feel they share all of our goals, not just our financial goals.”
The Flexible Capital Fund, L3C provides flexible risk capital in the form of subordinated debt and royalty financing to Vermont growth-stage companies in sustainable agriculture, food systems, forest products, renewable energy, and other natural resource sectors. The Flex Fund seeks a fair return on its financial investment, while being equally focused on the social and environmental impact borrowers have in building healthy food systems, re-localizing energy resources, and creating resilient communities. The Flex Fund is managed by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, a non-profit responsible for developing Vermont’s sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and forest product businesses. www.flexiblecapitalfund.com
Eden Specialty Ciders is a boutique Cidery located in the heart of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom region, producing award winning ice ciders, aperitif ciders, and naturally sparkling ciders made from locally grown heirloom and cider variety apples. Eden Specialty Ciders is committed to minimizing their carbon footprint while creating healthy soils and trees in their orchard and supporting Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same. Contributing to the economic and environmental health of employees and the Northeast Kingdom community while making world-class unique ciders that truly reflect Vermont terroir are at the Eden core. Eden is the only U.S. Cidery to be awarded the Snail of Approval from Slow Food. www.edenspecialtyciders.com
Yankee Farm Credit is a member-owned cooperative which provides loans and financial services to farmers and other rural customers. Yankee is an agricultural credit association (ACA) within the national Farm Credit System. Yankee serves all of Vermont, four counties in New Hampshire (Cheshire, Coos, Grafton and Sullivan) and two counties in New York (Clinton and Essex). www.yankeeaca.com.