As we all become more aware of an industry’s impact on the world, many business owners are looking for ways to support a healthy environment with more sustainable practices. Finnriver Farm & Cidery is particularly committed to this endeavor as a purpose-driven farm and certified B-Corp. Their mission is to celebrate the beauty and bounty of the earth, to reconnect people to the land that sustains us, and to grow community. Now that they have expanded with their Tumwater Taproom in the Tumwater Craft District, Finnriver is excited to continue to spread this vision of vibrant community food systems using locally sourced and certified organic ingredients. Thanks to the many partnerships they have developed with like-minded farmers and organizations, Finnriver is paving the way for community-oriented rural enterprise where everyone can work and thrive together.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery Becomes First Certified B-Corp Cidery
Finnriver Farm & Cidery co-founders and co-owners Crystie and Keith Kisler and Eric Jorgensen were committed to ecological and social responsibility from the very beginning. Since forming and starting Finnriver, they have intended to make a positive impact in our rural communities. One of their cidery guests shared that they did consulting with businesses on their social purpose initiatives, and through this conversation the co-founders discovered how much the B-Corp certification aligned with their mission and vision for Finnriver. This model balances the needs of people, planet, and profit, which deeply resonated with their core values and provided a solid framework to further build their growth while maintaining environmentally conscious practices.
Though Finnriver already met many of the standards for B-Corp Certification, the process is still quite rigorous and required months of dedicated efforts to review the questions, investigate their own practices and respond accurately. The co-owners found this process to be exceptional in keeping their business accountable for their impacts, and they learned even more about how to operate with greater integrity and self-awareness as a company. They are eager to not only continue to lighten their own footprint through these powerful guidelines, but also serve as a role model of a financially viable, community-oriented organic farm and craft cidery with a positive impact on community. Finnriver co-founders have been gratified to be recognized as a “B-Corp Best for the World” on several occasions, and is hopeful that their efforts will inspire other businesses to seek certification.
B-Corp Certification Brings Positive Impacts to Finnriver Farm & Cidery
Operations Director Andrew Byers started with Finnriver Farm & Cidery in 2013 as the head cidermaker when it was just a small leadership group. As a values-driven company, conversations quickly began to arise surrounding more ways to promote ecologically sound and ethical practices within their enterprise and out into the communities they sourced and served. “Direction early on was really focused on how to define business as a force for good,” Andrew reflects. “Our cider and connection to the land is different, and we make sure that we are walking the walk instead of just talking the talk. The walk for us is our commitments to sustainability both in farmland and in waste streams of manufacturing, and the way we choose to operate and occupy a space.”
Pursuing the B-Corp Certification made sense for Finnriver to demonstrate their commitments and have the language to follow through as they evolved. “When we initially filled out the application, we passed with flying colors,” Andrew recalls. “It was who we were already, so it really validated that we were already doing things differently.” Over time, the B-Corp name and Finnriver’s operations have changed, and with that adjustments had to be made to ensure that Finnriver still held up each standard. Though maintaining this status has been challenging at points, it has inspired some incredible changes within Finnriver toward waste management, energy monitoring, and reuse and recycling documentation.
For Andrew, joining the Finnriver Farm & Cidery legacy has been an amazing opportunity. “What was so lovely and refreshing about the conversation with Finnriver folks at the beginning was that I felt like they were at a pace I could bring my activism and social justice to the workplace, not as a rebel, but simply by doing good every day,” he shares. “As an organic farm first and foremost, there is a commitment to small scale agriculture and sourcing, and with that choice we are looking directly at our ability to be profitable while giving equal weight to stewardship of the land for our own orchard and for ingredients we source from other places.”
By building these relationships with other farmers and producers within Washington state, bioregional products have become the cornerstone of Finnriver and perfectly capture who they truly are.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery Expands to Tumwater Craft District
With their roots ingrained in community and connection, Finnriver Farm & Cidery was excited to be part of the newly developed Tumwater Craft District here in Thurston County.
“We’ve always been curious about what it would be like to establish an off-farm Taproom and we love the idea of creating a community space that is more neighborhood oriented,” shares Crystie Kisler, Finnriver co-founder. “So we were both intrigued and happy to be invited to participate in the newly formed Tumwater Craft district. Additionally, our head cidermaker teaches cider making next door at the South Puget Sound Community College’s Craft Brewing and Distilling program. Andrew’s work at SPSCC gave him a direct connection to this community and to the Craft District project. Between the value aligned dedication to craft and this personal connection, it felt like a great fit and we are excited to continue building relationships and growing community!”
Their new taproom is open to the public featuring seasonally-crafted ciders made with organic fruit, all sourced under exceptional practices and through strong partnerships with rural communities. “Building community is at the forefront of what we are hoping to do in the Tumwater Craft District,” says Andrew. “We would love to engage with other community organizations and facilitate some gathering spaces. Really, it’s just about diving in and making a bunch of new friends to propel us forward.”
Check out the new Finnriver Tumwater Taproom located in the Tumwater Craft District and discover how Finnriver is breaking the mold not just in cidery, but in industry as a whole. Learn more by visiting the Finnriver Farm & Cidery website.
Finnriver Tumwater Taproom
4242 Capitol Blvd. SE #111, Tumwater