Owner Laura Bertoldi opened the friends-and-family-run beverage business in May 2019

By Suman Ganapathy

Suman Ganapathy

It’s said necessity is the mother of invention. In collaboration with Borello Family Farms and Andy’s Orchard among others, TenFiveOne Cider Co. is creating new, locally-sourced types of hard apple ciders for residents of Morgan Hill.

Owner Laura Bertoldi opened the friends-and-family-run business in May 2019. Ten months later, the world was turned upside down. With the COVID-19 global pandemic forcing us all to shelter in place and the subsequent closing of bars and restricting restaurants to which they were supplying, Laura was uncertain if they would be able to stay afloat. Clearly, new, and creative strategies had to be devised.

Looking at the kegs of unsold cider and growlers (a large bottle used to transport craft beer and cider) lying around their home-based facility, Laura had the idea to personally deliver cider-filled growlers throughout Morgan Hill, and immediately made “get your cider while you still can” posts on social media.

Suddenly, they were now only selling by delivery. It was a major shift in their business model, with all transactions taking place in cyberspace to be legally compliant. TenFiveOne ciders got a lot of visibility via social media, and the orders started coming in slowly and surely. However, “with one person running all deliveries around town and kids that needed help with virtual learning, it wasn’t sustainable,” she said. With many customers wanting to refill their growlers but no realistic and safe way to refill them via delivery, Laura debuted her next new creative idea of “Fill ‘em Friday Refill Events.”

On Fill ‘em Up Friday Refill Event days, after prepaying electronically, customers let TenFiveOne know ahead of time when they plan to pick up their cider. They drive in with their TenFiveOne Cider Co. growlers and have them sanitized and refilled without ever getting out of their car.

Laura said she wanted the public to know that she and TenFiveOne Cider Co. are grateful for the support of the Morgan Hill community during these challenging times. She is fortunate that satisfied customers are spreading the word about TenFiveOne Cider Co on social media. Without a physical location in the downtown area, it is challenging to grow a business, and the community has definitely helped support them. She hopes they continue to do so even after establishments open again and choices for consuming alcoholic beverages increase.

Along with being an astute businesswoman, Laura is also a mother of two school-going children, and a spouse of a military veteran and current essential employee. With her spouse working more extended shifts than normal during this pandemic, Laura’s accomplishments as she navigated her children’s online virtual school along with her own work responsibilities, are laudable.

Suman Ganapathy is a Morgan Hill Downtown Association board member. She is also a Leadership Morgan Hill Class of 2018 alumnus, President-Elect AAUW, volunteer docent with the San Jose Museum of Art ‘Let’s Look at Art’ program, and a Morgan Hill Library, Culture and Arts Commissioner.

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