‹ News Releases

Best ciders in Michigan named

Contact: Bob Tritten
(810) 732-2177

(Grand Rapids, Mich.) – A record number of entries were submitted in the 14th Annual Michigan Apple Cider Contest, with Engelsma’s Apple Barn of Walker earning first-place honors.

It marks the third win in the competition for cider mill owners Becky and Jim Engelsma II, placing them in an elite group of cider makers from across the state, according to contest organizer Bob Tritten, District Fruit Educator from MSU Extension in Flint.

“We classify cider makers who have won three 1st Places in the statewide cider competition into a distinct class of their own – they’re called Master Cider Makers.  With this year’s win, Becky and Jim now have earned that distinct accolade,” said Tritten.

Engelsma’s Apple Barn is the third recipient of the Master Cider Maker title and will be presented an award at the annual competition next year.   Jim and Arlene Hill of Hill Brothers Orchard of Grand Rapids were honored this year as Master Cider Makers receiving an award for the achievement.

The contest took place Wednesday, Dec. 8 during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO Conference held at the DeVos Center in Grand Rapids.  Michigan cider makers were allowed to enter.  This year 40 ciders were submitted, the highest to date, according to Tritten.

Second place went to Westview Orchards and Cider Mill of Romeo.  Cider mill owners Abby and Bill Jacobson were ecstatic to hear they had won, since it was their first time placing in the contest.  Third place went to Bill Erwin and Bill Emery of Erwin Orchards and Cider Mill of South Lyon, who have a longtime success record in the contest including consecutive first places 1999-2002.

Denise Donohue, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee – a sponsor of the competition – said apple growers in Michigan take pride in creating high quality cider.

“Michigan has a long-standing history of fine cider making,” she said.  “This contest helps to drive that quality higher and higher every year.”

Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world.  For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.