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Live Inspired Podcast: S9 | Ep. 92 Ironbound Hard Cider

Ironbound Hard Cider owner + crew chief smile in the orchard.Ex-Felons to Farmers

Charles Rosen started Ironbound Hard Cider to rekindle the Newark economy by hiring it’s chronically unemployed, formerly incarcerated population. James Williams is one such employee who shares his passion for working as a crew chief on the cidery’s orchard.

Reimagine what’s possible in business, life, community, social enterprise + sustainable agriculture on today’s episode:

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  • “The Ironbound Hard Cider community is blended, guys wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats sitting side-by-side with black gang members from Newark and they treat each other like brothers.”
  • This business is an unintentional exploration into how to address the biggest gap that exists in our country: Urban v. rural.
  • “We are much stronger as a collective then when thinking only of our own individual pursuits.”
  • Helping people shift out of a state of chronic poverty takes time. I’m not seeing entities in any sector willing to put in that time.
  • Instead of a winner take all approach to business, our approach is that my success shouldn’t come at the expense of yours. My success should actually be connected to yours.
  • If you like this podcast, you will love Live Inspired IN STUDIO. It’s my membership community where like-minded friends join me via live webcast to live inspired together. Registration opens soon! Join the waitlist.
  • This is what success should feel like, service to the other.
  • Our guys know that the past does not define them and that they have the capacity to define their own future.
  • Read the article about James that he read to his kids here.
  • “I feel blessed, happy, and  like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do as a father. A beautiful lesson: If I can do it, he can do it.”
  • Listen to another episode with inspiring ideas around hiring and building a business around cause and community on Ep. #85 Amy + Ben Wright, Demystifying Disabilities.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Biography of Makaveli, Tupac Shakur. Tupac was naturally someone people looked up to in the urban community.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? Listening. Listen first. Ask questions later.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? Honestly nothing, I’m good.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Obama. I’d ask, “How did you do it?”

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Don’t give up.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? I wish I could take it back. I would have been in a different place, but I do accept where I am at now.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? Very optimistic, eager to learn and capable.


If you enjoyed today’s episode: Subscribe, rate & review wherever you get your podcasts. See you here next Thursday!

Live Inspired with John every day on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedInPinterest, Instagram and get his Monday Motivation email: www.JohnOLearyInspires.com/Monday-Morning


2 replies on “Live Inspired Podcast: S9 | Ep. 92 Ironbound Hard Cider”

The community building that is occurring here is amazing. BonTon Farms in Dallas, Texas has created a similar community, but I don’t think it started out to prove a business model. It did grow into an incredible solution that is self-sustaining and creating a livelihood for many. They made farm land out of a vacant lot in a food desert and it has grown beyond expectations creating a sense of pride and ownership in an area that was high crime, high welfare. It’s good to see this happening not just in one area, but in many across the US. Let it be a start for healing America.

This is an awesome segment! As an employee of a dairy farm we are so short staffed and it is hard to find good reliable help. Giving someone a second chance at life is amazing and doing that through agriculture is even more amazing. I have learned so much about work ethic and dependability through working on farms.

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