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Uncle John’s Hard Cider takes best of show in international competition

Contact: Holly Whetstone
(800) 456-2753

(Grand Rapids, Mich.) — Uncle John’s Cider Mill of St. Johns has earned top honors in a hard cider and perry competition that featured more than 80 entries from around the world.

The 5th Annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition took place Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids.  Uncle John’s Hard Cider, packaged under the Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery label, stood out among all gold medal winners in the commercial division, earning the highest accolade – “Best of Show.”

“Much of our success is due to the fact that we use the world’s best fruit,” said cider maker Mike Beck of Uncle John’s.  “In our hard cider, we use all Michigan Apples featuring a blend of such classic varieties as Winter Banana, Winesap, Northern Spy and a few McIntosh.”

Beck, who has been producing Uncle John’s Hard Cider for six years, also scored gold medal distinctions for his cyser (honey wine), apple/cherry cider and apple brandy.  To learn more about the products and where they can be purchased, visit FruitHouseWinery.com.

According to Rex Halfpenny, organizer of the contest and publisher of the Michigan Beer Guide, this year’s competition was stiff, with entries from as far away as England and Nova Scotia.

“These guys take their business very seriously, and have perfected their beverages for the most refined palates,” said Halfpenny.  “Mike is a prime example.  I know he is very proud of these distinctions and especially for taking home the grand-daddy prize of them all – Best of Show.”

The contest is sponsored in part by the Michigan Apple Committee.  In the non-commercial division, Michigan Apple grower Eric Fouch of Caledonia earned overall honorable mention for his “Going Polar” hard cider.  A total of 23 gold medals were awarded, 12 to non-commercial producers and 11 to commercial producers. View complete contest results at MichiganBeerGuide.com.

“Fifty-seven percent of all entries came from Michigan,” said Halfpenny.  “I am proud to be a part of this great event, bringing positive international attention to our state, especially in these hard times.

“In fact, I believe this year’s competition was the best ever.  We grew from 137 total entries to 160, further establishing our event as the largest fermented apple and pear competition in the world.”

Blind panel judging was accomplished by 26 judges, assisted by 12 stewards, and managed by four staff members.

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.