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Jake Schiffer '11

Jake graduated from USD in May, 2011, with a BA in Interdisciplinary Humanities. A lifelong Texan, Jake returned to his home of Houston to build the company that he had started even before graduation, Leprechaun Cider Company, Texas’ first hard cider company.

1: What have you been up to since graduation?
I started my company, Leprechaun Cider Company, my junior year of USD, but the first year was product and brand development.  We launched our first product in the spring of 2011, while I was finishing up my last semester. By the time I graduated in May, we were already in the market, so I’ve spent the last year growing the business. It was both a challenge and an opportunity that hard cider was virtually unheard of in Texas only a year ago. Now it’s a crowded field, but we got into the market just at the right time. Our first offering was our lightly sweet Leprechaun Golden hard cider. Now we have another year-round offering, Leprechaun Dry hard cider, and two seasonals, Pomegranate and Strawberry.

2: What is your fondest memory of USD?
I really cherish my humanities education. So many students think they will never use what they have learned in class, but I can tell you that’s just not true. My parents always told me that college doesn’t have to be a place where one learns a trade. That is why I chose USD – I wanted an old-fashioned liberal arts education. Learning the classics, philosophy and history was so enriching, and its information I use and enjoy every day.

I also have fond memories of living in Mission Beach, right on the water, being in a house with all my friends. I recall spending time on the beach, playing around, and having friends over. Living on the beach was a blast having spent my entire life in a big city.

3. What is your favorite place on campus, why?
Hands down, my favorite place on campus is the garden that overlooks Mission Bay, behind the IPJ. No matter what was going on in my life, it was a serene, contemplative place to be alone. No matter when I went, I seemed to be the only one there.

4. Who was your favorite USD professor or class?
Because I was humanities major, I was able to pick and choose my classes – I enjoyed so many of them it’s impossible to choose my favorite. It was the rare teacher or class that I didn’t care for greatly. But classes that stand out in my memory are The Rise and Fall of Apartheid, Pacific Worlds, and Sex, Love and Science.

5: How have you remained involved with USD since graduation?
I haven’t had the chance, being so far away and being so busy. But I’d like to return sometime to be a part of an alumni presentation to students as well as just to get together with old friends and have a good time like we used to.

6: If you could offer a current USD student advice, what would it be?
Enjoy it, and try to appreciate what a great opportunity you have to be able to attend a university like USD. You only have a few years, so learn from every experience you have, whether it be good or bad.

For more information about Leprechaun Cider Company visit http://leprechauncider.com. To connect with Jake directly please email him at jake@leprechauncider.com.

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