Summerland Company Captures Food & Beverage Production Business Of The Year Award
SUMMERLAND – When Janet and Brett Annable started Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. in 2020, they wanted to give customers an unforgettable experience.
Not just taste from the five beverages they produce. . .a memorable tourism experience they wouldn’t forget.
“Tourism is a big part of what we do,” says Brett. “We have a tasting room and lots of tours come. We have a historical story that comes with the cider, so they get an experience. Our mindset is that when people come up, they will have an inspiring experience.
“We give a historic story about the property and the Millionaires’ Row story, and we engage one-on-one with consumers. We interact. It’s not a monologue and we personalize it with them. We bring them into the story, and we hope that people leave more inspired than when they came.”
Annable believes the experience they offer is one of the reasons why Millionaires’ Row Cider was named the Food & Beverage Production Business of the Year at the Pushor Mitchell LLP Business Excellence Awards in Kelowna in June.
“The businesses we were competing against in the category may have been fancier, bigger and aesthetically nicer, but we had a bit more that was hidden and came out,” he observes. “Winning was unexpected, because I view the other finalists as excellent operators, and we use their products. It was just an honor to be nominated, but once they said our name, we laughed and we went up to receive the award.”
It’s been quite a journey for the Annables, who were involved in farming and other ventures in Alberta prior to arriving in Summerland.
“We felt like we wanted to explore more potential about what we could do with our lives, more than what we were doing at that time,” he recalls. “This gave us an opportunity to unlock that, and when we saw the potential here in the Okanagan, we could see you could do anything you could imagine, especially with tourism.”
All of Millionaires’ Row Cider is made from apples, and Annable says they’re all very similar in characteristic.
“We make a very clean and crisp cider, usually to the dry side, not the sweet,” he explains. “We basically picked a bit of a narrow lane in the market, with a nice glass bottle. It’s a niche, and we’ve found people that appreciate it. We’re appealing to a certain type of cider drinker.
“Our product is more preferred by the wine drinker than the beer drinker, and that’s the way we manufacture and market our product,” he says, adding the alcohol level is in the middle of those products, at 7.5 percent. “We’re a little bit higher end to that kind of demographic, and the product is clear and nice looking in the way it’s packaged and presented.”
The business has been growing steadily, and this is the first year they haven’t sold out all of their product. That’s because they need to carry inventory, since Millionaires’ Row Cider is being sold in grocery stores like Save On Foods, Real Canadian Superstore and others.
“We can’t run out of inventory, so now we have to plan to make more,” he says. “Now people are buying our cider outside of the business, because we have brand and name recognition now.”
The company, which also includes their son Nelson, continues to focus on quality at every corner.
“In everything we wanted to do, we didn’t look to be big. We looked to be quality first, and focused on putting out the best product we could,” he notes. “We also wanted the interaction with our customers to be the best we could, and that has put us on a very strong growth path.”