We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Reagan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniel, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
We would always dream about success and what the ‘American Dream’ is. We’d determined that our idea of the American Dream is about taking on challenge, and overcoming it to make something truly great and uniquely our own. Owning our own business is the ultimate challenge. It is the ultimate risk for the biggest reward in our mind. You can’t rely on anyone else; you cannot coast. In some sense it is a huge challenge with the ‘people’ barrier/ the ladder climbing barrier removed. The risk of failure is really just on our shoulders.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The military has shaped who we are. It’s given structure and goals and the ability to meet and exceed those goals. I was active duty for 6 years and then went reserve. I am incredibly proud of my time in the Air Force and of the mission I contribute to from that stand point. My time in the military again taught me structure and gave me the opportunity to go to college, get a bachelors degree in business and get a culinary degree (both of which come in quite handy in life now). I am proud to have served my country and to have gotten where I am (a relatively young SMGT and business owner). The transition from a professional military career to small business owner has been anything but easy. One of the best examples of the challenges I’ve faced is just simply the shift from a team mentality (Air Force) to more of a one man show in an industry I didn’t know enough about. The military is based on cooperative, collaborative forward movement (it’s expected that everyone works together and does it well.) Moving into this business owner role in the alcohol industry is challenging in that people are great and willing to help, but you have to ask, get opinions and then make your own decision. There is no one to tell you if you are making the right or wrong decision, and the margin for error is rather small. I have certainly not overcome all the challenges of being a business owner or figured out the formula to certain success, but I think one of the keys is being flexible, always having a back up plan (and a back up to the back up). Our brand is premised on the idea of being wildly different. We want people to know that we are different, our brand is different (we are veteran and woman owned) we work really hard to make an excellent product and we (Wild Cider) want to be a key piece in our fan’s stories. We are different because we want to go with you on your adventures.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Monday – BEST INDIAN FOOD IN COLORADO (or perhaps the world) is in Aurora. – Monsoon! We would go there for dinner. It’s a quick trip down 470 from the Airport and WELL worth it. Tuesday – Head up into the mountains. If it were summer we would hike. Audrey is very into 14ers, but in an attempt not to induce altitude sickness, we would likely head to St Mary’s glacier. In the winter it would, for sure, we would head out to Ski/ride at Vail or Copper for a day or two. Wednesday – Longmont area exploration – Well, food first – We’d start with either amazing sushi at Sushi Leo or American style goodness at The Roost. On to the distilleries! Our favorites include- Dry Land and Copper Sky. Thursday – See the Colorado Sites – We would head south to see Red Rocks, and further to Colorado Springs for a look at the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak. We would join Audrey’s parents for dinner and stay the night. Friday – Manitou Springs and the Incline! Audrey really enjoys “showing people the amazing view” .. as they gasp for breath and try to survive the steep stairmaster hike. Saturday – R&R back up north – We would enjoy a relaxing day and end it with some brewery hopping! Our favorites spots are Bootstrap, Left Hand, and 300 Suns.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents were entrepreneurs. They started many businesses. I saw the hard work they put in to provide for me and our family. They taught me those important values. Without the determination they taught me, I wouldn’t have the ‘stuff’ it takes to get up and do this every day. Of course I, we, are driven by the need to make our parents proud. Audrey’s (my wife’s) parents definitely deserve recognition. They believed in us from the start (enough that they wanted to become part owners of the company)! They also sort of became our cheerleaders on a daily basis. When days or weeks (or months) get hard they are usually that positive voice telling us we are good at this and it is going to be that national brand we are striving for.
Website: www.wildcider.com ; www.thewildorchardco.com
Other: The Orchard is our event venue – Our location in Firestone is actually on a 14 acre apple orchard venue for events. (www.thewildorchardco.com) Our Cider Garden (seasonal outdoor bar) is also located on the Orchard in Firestone. We are generally open (weather permitting) May – October each year. Our Cider Garden is really our testing ground for new flavors and styles of cider. We put out new stuff and the fans provide instant feedback. It is a lot of fun and you can try a lot of interesting stuff that isn’t available anywhere else!
images at cidery/orchard – Chiara at Magnetic Creative