‹ News Releases

Cider maker earns top honor

Contact: Denise Yockey
(800) 456-2753

Grand Rapids, MI – After sipping and savoring cider from across the state, a panel of judges have awarded the title of “Best-Tasting Cider in Michigan” to Jim and Arlene Hill of Grand Rapids.

The distinguished apple cider-makers own Hill Brothers Orchards in Grand Rapids, which has earned several awards for distinguished apple cider quality, including first-place wins in 1997 and 1998.

Second-place was awarded to Jim Engelsma, owner of Engelsma's Apple Barn in Walker and winner of last year's competition, and third place went to Jim Goldstein, owner of Hy's Cider Mill in Romeo.

The Annual Michigan Cider Contest, celebrating its 10th year, was held Wednesday, Dec. 6 during the annual Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market convention in Grand Rapids.

A panel of judges reviewed 33 entries, grading each on eight criteria: appearance and color, aroma and bouquet, acidity and sweetness, sugar/acid balance, body, flavor, finish and overall quality.

The Michigan Apple Cider contest was started in 1997 to honor the tradition of great-tasting cider from Michigan and to generate friendly competition amongst the state's cider makers. The contest is sponsored by the Michigan Apple Committee and the Michigan State Horticultural Society.

Contest organizer Bob Tritten, District Horticultural Agent from MSU Extension in Flint, said that while the quality of cider has increased tremendously over the years, this year's contest may have been the most competitive yet.

“The season we just had not only had the effect of good crop production, but also of creating very sweet apples which produce excellent-tasting cider,” said Tritten.

Recent studies have shown apple cider may improve health. It is a good source of Vitamin C, foliate, potassium and boron. Apples and apple cider are fat-free and an excellent source of fiber, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.

“We are always excited about the quality of cider produced in this state,” said Denise Yockey, executive director of Michigan Apple Committee. “This year's cider is no exception. It is absolutely great-tasting and we encourage all Michiganians to get out and try some.”

The 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 by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, including recipes and cider mills across the state, visit MichiganApples.com.