First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF) was recently awarded $30,000 on behalf of EsoTerra Ciderworks in Dolores, Colorado through USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program for small business innovation in rural Colorado.

“Dreaming of success is easy, achieving it is work.” Said Elizabeth Philbrick, owner of EsoTerra Ciderworks. “First Southwest Community Fund is facilitating the prosperity of rural businesses in our region by connecting them to existing grants and programs intended to help companies establish, grow and flourish.

EsoTerra Ciderworks is proud to have had FSWCF facilitate an elaborate application that landed a grant to fund a comprehensive marketing strategy and ongoing marketing training for our artisanal cidery. Small businesses like ours make exponential leaps with programs like these, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to work with such a delightful team toward a mutual goal.”

EsoTerra Ciderworks is a women- and minority-owned cidery located in Dolores, in Montezuma County. A new and growing business, they produce and sell hard cider, have a physical cidery and tasting room, and incubate other small cideries. EsoTerra partners with local orchards to harvest product not suited for traditional grocery store fruit and processes them into cider – not only making their own award-winning cider but exporting southwest Colorado regional apples by value adding to an existing agriculture product. Montezuma County has a rich history of orchards and was once home to a thriving local fruit economy. Today’s interest in local and heirloom food, together with the resurgent hard cider industry, provides insight into a bright future for old apples.

EsoTerra Cidery has grown significantly since its founding in 2019. However, given their remote location and the complexities of the hard cider industry, EsoTerra needs a robust marketing strategy to reach their full potential. While EsoTerra can and has good integration into the local market, for their business to truly flourish they need to reach consumers across the state of CO and, indeed, across the nation. To do this, they applied for the RBDG grant for assistance with their marketing strategy – which is crucial to integrating their product into destinations across the country and attracting consumers. EsoTerra Cidery is poised for growth, and the strategic marketing plan is essential to reach audiences throughout the region and country to bring much needed economic vibrancy to Colorado’s rural Southwestern corner.

Through the USDA’s RBDG, FSWCF will be able to pay up to $30,000 for the strategic marketing plan. Psyche Digital Marketing, a firm that recently moved to SW Colorado, will be providing the expertise and work to complete the strategic plan.

“EsoTerra Ciderworks show incredible creativity, innovation and community spirit through their business model,” said Cass Walker, Executive Director of the First Southwest Community Fund. “It has been an honor to support them on their journey, and we can’t wait to see what the RBDG grant does not only for EsoTerra Ciderworks, but for Dolores and the surrounding area.”

EsoTerra Ciderworks recently won several prestigious awards at the world’s most prestigious hard cider competition – The Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition. Their tasting room is booming and we encourage you to visit their website or their tasting room in Dolores! Find out more here.

For more information on the Rural Business Development Grant and potential 2021 grant opportunities for your rural Colorado business, please contact us here. As always, RBDG grants are subject to Congressional approval.