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Cidery founder sees decrease in business as weather cools and COVID-19 cases spike

Ash & Elm Cider Company stays open at 50% capacity even though sales are down.
Posted at 9:59 AM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 09:59:40-05

INDIANAPOLIS — For the last nine months since the pandemic started, business owners have had to continuously adapt in order to keep their doors open.

“It was carry out only. It was short hours,” Andrea Homoya, Founder & CEO of Ash and Elm Company, said.

Her east side cidery is closing in on its fifth year anniversary, but it’s safe to say 2020 has been one of the most challenging years so far.

“The hardest thing for us has been kind of wanting to do right by both customers and our employees and our business,” Homoya said. “So we don't want to put our business at risk, but we also don't want to put our people at risk.”

Over the summer, the cidery did well as customers enjoyed their patio, ordered carryout, or dined inside the taproom. Now, as the weather gets cooler and coronavirus cases once again rise, sales are down.

“We are trying to figure out should we just close and be carry out only can we sustain our business? Why stay open if people aren't going to come? But also, why close if we don't have to,” Homoya said. “It's that same question of how do we decide how to do it.”

Homoya worries because typically, the winter months of January and February are the year's slowest for her industry.

“For the holidays, we’re releasing all 12 ciders of the month and a special edition gift box so you can revisit your favorites from the last year. Or if you missed one, you can have it. It’s a great thing to gift to your cider lovers in your family or friends,” Homoya said.

Ash & Elm is also releasing a subscription of the month service. It’s part of a continued effort to be creative and innovative during the pandemic to push through the slower months ahead.