Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Romain Guille, Co-Founder of AVAL Cider, located in Pluguffan, France.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Straight from Bretagne, France's most beautiful region and international mecca of cider, AVAL is bringing to market a line of extraordinary ciders. Co-op produced using the most rigorous methods, AVAL is the first-ever modern brand of French cider. Thanks to over 1000 years of know-how, we offer some of the category's best liquids, but in approachable and practical formats. Never from concentrate, with zero sugar added, our gluten-free ciders are also naturally low in calories and carbs. Since launching in 2015, we have gone from just being a darling in the bar and restaurant community to a brand that is just as much at home in chain retail as it is in Michelin Star restaurants.
Tell us about yourself
I've been in the alcoholic beverage industry for more than 15 years, importing and building brands of spirits from all over the world. Being from Bretagne, probably the best region in the world for cider (ok, I'm a tad biased but still..), I made it my mission to share our terroir and our incredible liquids with the rest of the world.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Definitely getting the brand through the pandemic and the post-pandemic. Before 2020 we were mostly present in bars and restaurants, enjoying amazing support from our friends in the hospitality industry. When everything shut down, we had to adjust and find other outlets, which we did. Forever grateful for our bar and restaurant family all over the country that kept on supporting us. We went through some rough winds, but that's nothing compared to what they had to go through. Then in 2021, the supply chain started acting out, and everything became so difficult and expensive. But we kept our heads down and weathered the storm. It's mostly getting better, and we've learned a lot through the process, but we definitely came close to losing the brand.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think it's solitude. Don't get me wrong, you get to work and interact with tons of awesome people, from team members to suppliers to our amazing customers. But at the end of the day, as a single business owner, you're all alone with the choices that you make and the consequences they carry. Sleepless nights and some rough days can definitely be difficult, at times, for you and the people around you.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Follow your instincts. Don't let anyone tell you you're a fool for thinking that there is a chance. If you think there is something there, then there is.
- Work hard and take risks. There is nothing I wouldn't do because I'm a "business owner," from cleaning up leaking cans and dropping cases off to spending days cold calling on new accounts.
- Enjoy the journey. Probably easier said than done but to run a healthy business, you gotta have a good time. I always try and remember that on a rainy day.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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