ADA, Mich. (WOOD) — As the first ever Cider Week GR wraps up this weekend with a big festival, hard cider producers in West Michigan say they’re seeing the industry quickly expand.
24 Hour News 8 went on a behind-the-scenes tour at Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill in Ada. It’s a family-run business that’s been producing local hard cider for more than four years.
Owner Andy Sietsema said that they noticed the hard cider “movement” here in Michigan and nationwide more than six years ago. They began integrating hard cider into their business model shortly afterwards.
“We’re seeing that the cider consumer is getting more educated,” said Sietsema. “They’re shifting towards the drier and the more craft products, which is great for us because our stuff is more on the drier side. We do stuff in a more traditional way.”
Sietsema knows West Michigan is full of craft beer drinkers, but he told 24 Hour News 8 that they’re seeing many of those same people choose hard cider instead.
“That’s where we see our biggest crossover is the beer drinker because the beer drinker here, especially in West Michigan, is very educated [and] they’re [a] very adventurous consumer,” Sietsema explained. “They want to see what’s new and interesting that’s out there.”
Sietsema said his business grows about 250 different types of apples.
He explained that Michigan is the second-largest apple producer in the nation, which allows for endless options and combinations for new flavors.
Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill will offer a reserve cider made with heirloom apples on Saturday at the Cider Week GR Blue Bridge Festival. It runs from 2-7 p.m. and features live local music.