A Bournemouth graduate who went on to launch America’s leading craft cider business and rejuvenate the industry has shared his entrepreneurial insights in his first book.

Jeffrey House, founder of Ace Cider, will release ‘The Cider King, How I Aced It!’ this summer. The book charts Jeffrey’s personal and career journey, from studying an HND in Business and Marketing at Bournemouth College of Technology (a forerunner to BU), to disrupting America’s drinks industry with the only craft cider to be distributed nationwide. 

After completing his studies in Bournemouth (and going on to achieve a degree in economics from University of Sheffield and a diploma in marketing from University of Westminster) Jeffrey set out on a career in advertising, working on behalf of brands including Kawasaki and the London Rubber Company.

By the late 1970s, spurred on by a conversation with a former Bournemouth classmate, he decided to leave the UK for America in the hope of finding some “sunshine and optimism”. In 1980 Jeffrey launched his first business, The Thames America Trading Company, importing British and Belgian beers and exporting California wines. The venture was a success despite, as Jeffrey recalls, no-one in America being able to pronounce Thames!

After visiting Irish bars in the States, he spotted a gap in the market for cider and began importing brands including Taunton’s Dry Blackthorn. By 1993 Jeffrey had launched his second business, the California Cider Company, and with it a new brand of cider – Ace. Jeffrey said: “By this stage, I had been through a few cycles of importing and distributing brands, only to see them being bought up by other companies with little financial gain for me. I decided that I should build and distribute my own brand instead.”

Over the next 30 years Ace grew to become a 1.3 million case brand, known for its pioneering fruit flavours including pineapple, guava and peach, and Jeffrey and family began serving draught ciders at America’s first cider pub to open in hundreds of years – The Ace in the Hole.

Having sold the Ace brand in 2021, Jeffrey said: “Writing this book has been a good opportunity to reflect on the past 40 years in the industry. Over the course of my career, I have operated as a sole proprietor, a partner and a C Corporation and I can now pass on these experiences to help other entrepreneurs – whatever sector they might be working in. There have been highs and lows along the way, but I am a big believer in serendipity – or synchronicity as I call it – and being open to the opportunity that this brings.”

Among the lows, Jeffrey describes the challenges of battling bouts of severe depression. He said: “I first began experiencing periods of low mood as a young adult. I would take to my bed for days at a time and feel unable to move. My depression wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my 30s and I am incredibly grateful for the support of my family in helping me get through these times. Mental health is now spoken about much more readily, but I hope that by sharing this aspect of my life in the book – alongside the business and other successes – it can help others to see what’s possible with the right support.”

The Cider King, How I Aced It is now available via Amazon and in electronic form for the Kindle.