Cidermaker/Packaging Manager – Western Cider – Missoula, Montana

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    Michael Billingsley


    Company Summary:

    Western Cider is an apple grower and cider house in Missoula, Montana. As a company, we aspire to create an institution of great cider, good times and a life worth living in this far-flung region of the American West. See what we are all about on Instagram or Facebook @westerncider or on our website –

    Job Description:

    The cidermaker portion of the job assists the Head Cider Maker in all tasks associated with cider production and overall maintenance of the cellar. The primary responsibility is care and oversight of the active ferments and maturing ciders. This means direct involvement with the ferments, but also immaculate sanitation practices, maintenance of equipment used, knowledge of the general fermentation process, curiosity, creativity, and dedication. There will be planning and scheduling of logistics, but the ability and willingness to change strategy and troubleshoot unforeseen circumstances is crucial. Ferments are alive and ever changing. This position requires thought and a thorough understanding of Western’s methods of production. Although some tasks may be tedious, the Cidermaker must be aware of the smallest details and how they can impact the bigger picture. Time management and a mind for efficiency is necessary. The Cidermaker will assume all responsibility when Head Cider Maker is not on premise, but the two positions will work closely together.

    This position also fills the packaging manager roll and is responsible for all aspects of packaging. We are currently canning, bottling, and kegging. The primary responsibility for this position is operation, sanitation, maintenance, and proper storage of the Wild Goose Can Line, Meheen 6 fill bottler, hand bottler, and keg fillers. These pieces of equipment are highly valuable and must be treated with the utmost care to ensure their efficiency, efficacy and longevity. In addition to this, the Packaging Manager is responsible for the cider going into any package. Sanitation of equipment and the surrounding area is critical. With every package run, cider must be set aside for QA/QC testing. Record keeping is crucial for traceability and recall. With the help of the Head Cidermaker, the packaging manager is responsible for determining tank schedule, finished cider transfers, final SO2 additions, and accurate carbonation levels. This position will create a packaging schedule for each run, set the crew’s schedule, and execute the plan accordingly. As with any production, planning is imperative, but willingness to adjust scheduling to get the job done while ensuring the highest quality and care of the final product is the primary concern. The Assistant Packaging Manager will assist with operation of the equipment.

    Prerequisites Required:

    Minimum of one year previous work experience in a cidery, winery, or brewery

    Minimum of one year previous work experience on can or bottle line

    Basic understanding of chemical and microbiological processes relevant to fermentation and alcohol production

    Knowledge of sanitation principles and practices

    High School diploma including computer competency and effective written communication

    Clean and valid drivers license

    Ability to work rotating shifts and adjust schedule to meet production demands

    Ability to work both independently and with a team

    Mechanical aptitude and creativity

    Ability to lift 50 pounds

    Forklift Experience

    Cidermaker Primary Responsibilities

    Receiving Juice

    Inoculation of ciders

    Enzyme and Nutrient Additions

    Basic laboratory analysis (pH, So2)

    Daily Monitoring of Ferments

    Racking and Transfers of juice/cider

    Filtration – operation of x-flow and pre filter. Knowledge of cleaning and maintenance.

    Carbonation – understanding force carbonation and methods of natural carbonation (bottle conditioning, method champenoise, pet nat, etc…)

    Troubleshooting fermentation issues when necessary

    Barrel Program – monitoring maturations, maintenance and cleanliness of barrels and the surrounding area, filling and emptying, transfers, topping off, storage, and recordkeeping

    Preparation for packaging

    Overall cleanliness of cellar

    Ensure proper sanitation and storage of all equipment associated with cider making process

    Packaging Manager Responsibilities

    Operation of Wild Goose can line for all packaging days (assisted by assistant packaging manager)

    Operation of Meheen bottler for all packaging days (assisted by assistant packaging manager)

    Maintenance, upkeep and cleaning of all packaging equipment.

    In depth knowledge is required. Ability to set up, breakdown, operate, clean, perform necessary maintenance, and troubleshoot necessary repairs.

    Works closely with the packaging team and leads crew during packaging days.

    Training and Scheduling of packaging team.

    Works closely with Head Cider Maker to determine tank schedule, preparation for canning (cleaning of tanks, transfers, carbonation, SO2 additions).

    Ensures proper record keeping for finished, packaged cider. Enters numbers into packaging log in computer or delegates this to Assistant Packaging Manager.

    Regular checking of CO2, O2, and air compressor. Communication and ordering with Norco.

    Responsible for organization of tool shelves and pegboards. Must remain clean and organized, easy access.

    To apply:

    Send a cover letter, resume and three references to with “Cidermaker/Packaging Manager” in the subject line. Thanks!

    Compensation and benefits package: DOE

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