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Hill Brothers earn state’s most distinguished cider-making award

Contact: Denise Donohue
(800) 456-2753

(Grand Rapids, Mich.) — When it comes to cider making, Hill Brothers has recently earned some serious bragging rights.

Orchard owners Jim and Arlene received 1st Place in the 13th Annual Michigan Apple Cider Contest, held Dec. 9 during the Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo.  It marks the third time the couple has earned the top honor in the statewide contest, elevating them to an elite group of cider makers.

According to Bob Tritten, organizer of the contest and staff member of Michigan State University Extension, Jim and Arlene Hill will be presented with the “Master Cider Maker Award,” bestowed to cider makers who have finished first in the state cider competition three different times.

“The Master Cider Maker Award is an outstanding accomplishment and the Hills should be very proud of their fine cider-making legacy,” said Tritten.  “This award has only been presented one other time in the 13 years of the cider competition.” 

Other accolades in this year’s contest went to Bill Emery and Bill Erwin of Erwin Orchards, Inc. of South Lyon who earned 2nd Place, and Tom Rosenfeld of Earth First Farms of Berrien Center in 3rd Place.

According to Tritten, there were 34 cider entries from around the state submitted this year.  The annual competition strives to improve cider making, promote the industry and educate the public. 

Michigan Apple Committee Executive Director Denise Donohue said Michigan Apple growers invest a lot of pride and effort into their cider making.

“The cider competition is stiff, there’s no doubt about it,” said Donohue.  “With the Hills placing in either first or second place the past four years, they’re certainly deserving of this special recognition.”

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, visit MichiganApples.com.