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Hill Brothers reclaim state's top cider honor

Contact: Denise Donohue
(800) 456-2753

(Grand Rapids, Mich.) – Hill Brothers Orchard is earning quite a reputation for its fine apple cider. 

In fact, the Grand Rapids-based business recently earned top honors in Michigan's 12th Annual Apple Cider Contest, held Wednesday, Dec. 10 during the Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo.  Owner Jim Hill was pleased to recapture the first-place prize after finishing second the previous year.

“No question about it, Jim Hill has a history of excellence in cider making,” said Bob Tritten, organizer of the contest and staff member of Michigan State University Extension.  “He has placed in the top three five times since 2002 with two first-place finishes and three second-place finishes.  That's very impressive.”

Other accolades in this year's competition went to first-time winner Raymond Porter of Porters Orchards in Goodrich, finishing second, and Mike Beck of Uncle John's Cider Mill in St. Johns placing third.

According to Tritten, there were 30 entries in this year's competition and the judges had a hard time deciding the ultimate winner.

“The nine judges had a long and difficult deliberation in picking the best cider in the third and final round of judging,” said Tritten. 

The contest strives to improve cider making quality, promote the industry and educate the public. 

Michigan Apple Committee Executive Director Denise Donohue said apple growers in general take cider making very seriously.

“In fact, there is legislation before the House of Representatives to name apple cider as the state's official beverage,” said Donohue.  “Many of our fine cider makers hope to see that come to fruition sometime very soon.”

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.