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Miller’s Big Red Farm Wins 20th Annual Cider Contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Cider Maker Ken Miller of Miller’s Big Red Farm, in Washington, Michigan, took home first place in the 20th annual Michigan Apple Cider Contest. The cider contest took place at DeVos Convention Center on Wednesday, with 34 cider makers participating in the competition.  Miller took third place in last year’s cider contest.

“This competition started nearly 20 years ago with three goals:  to help promote our fine Michigan apple cider industry, to improve the quality of our cider and to provide additional educational and learning opportunities for our cider makers.  We’ve come a long way over the years,” said Bob Tritten, district fruit educator with Michigan State University Extension, and founder of the contest. “For this year’s contest we had 34 entries from across the state of Michigan.  Judging took place with the help of nine judges that worked hard to choose the best of the best Michigan ciders. Special thanks go to apple grower Thome of Sparta, who has served as a judge for all 20 years of the contest.” 

Apple Barrel Cider Mill in Ithaca, and their owner Chris Buerge cider maker Corey Buerge, won second place in the contest. The third place winner is Spicer Orchards of Fenton, and owners Alan, Wanda, Matt and Shannon Spicer and Will Cartwright, who is also the cider maker. 

“The Michigan apple cider industry is growing and improving each year,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, co-sponsor of the contest. “This competition serves as an opportunity for Michigan cider makers to gather and learn from each other. Many of the cider makers grow the apples themselves and spend years determining the perfect combination of apple varieties to create the best cider.” 

Tritten began the Michigan Apple Cider Contest in 1996 to improve cider making, promote the industry and educate the public. The contest is sponsored by the Michigan Apple Committee, the Michigan State Horticultural Society and the Fruit Growers News.

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