Dana St. Pierre’s grandma warded off colds with a head-popping tonic. It's now the successful Fire Cider.
Dana St. Pierre’s grandma warded off colds and other maladies with a head-popping tonic of horseradish and honey. In 2011, St. Pierre, his wife, Amy Huebner, and her brother, Brian, adapted grandma's recipe into a feisty apple cider-based remedy.
Four years after the first batch of Fire Cider sold out at a church fair, the partners are now buying out family members who invested $10,000 in the startup, and the staff has doubled from three to six. Shire City Herbals Fire Cider now sells in more than 400 U.S. stores.
“The universe dropped a ball in our lap,” says Amy, a holistic-health coach who grew up in Washington. “It’s one thing to make this at home and sell it to a customer at a food fair, another thing to spend so much money and time, with rules and regulations—things I knew nothing about. Then my dad said, ‘Look, you can do this.’”
Success hasn’t come without challenges. The concoction of organic-cider vinegar, honey, spices, and citrus falls squarely in the category of herbal healing, where food manufacturing and labeling rules are strict. And when Shire City trademarked the name “Fire Cider,” herbal-remedy advocates launched a social-media protest because the name is used informally among herbalists.
Still, Shire City's sales are healthy—one might say explosive. Visitors sampling Fire Cider at state fairs and food expos all have the same reaction: “Wow!”