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International Cider & Perry competition recognizes local orchards

April 24, 2013
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Local orchards Sietsema and Robinette’s both received recognition for their ciders during the eighth annual Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition.

Sietsema’s Yellow Label cider received a silver award. Robinette’s Cyser, a fermented honey and apple cider, won a gold award. Its Apple Dessert Wine earned a silver award and its Apple Wine and Barzilla’s Brew Hard Cider both took home bronze awards.

Cider maker Bill Robinette has been participating in the competition since its first year and has taken home a medal every year. This year he received a medal for each of the products he entered and it was his first year receiving a gold medal for a product.

“It’s the largest contest of its kind, definitely in the United States, and it’s becoming one of the biggest in the world, so it’s a great way to get your name out there and to see how you stack up,” he said. “It’s also great to get feedback on your product.”

The competition, put on by the Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association, has grown to be the second largest hard cider competition in the world. Hard cider producers from across the country and Europe have submitted their products for judging.

This year’s competition drew 421 entries, which is an increase of 47 percent since 2012. The competition includes categories for both commercial producers (those who may lawfully sell their products) and non-commercial producers (home hobbyists and commercial establishments such as cider mills that press fresh juice but are not licensed to sell fermented products). The commercial division experienced a 100 percent increase in the number of entries compared to last year.

“It’s great to see how cider is growing in popularity, people are becoming more aware of it,” Robinette said. “It was amazing to be down there after the judging was over. They set out a bunch of the ciders for people to try and there was literally hundreds and hundreds of bottles of cider from all over the world. It was great to be a part of that.”

Beer Judge Certification Program judges, industry professionals and media made up the panel of judges who tasted the ciders blindly.

Other Michigan businesses that received recognition in the form of gold, silver or bronze rankings were Tandem Ciders, Meckley’s Cidery, Northville Winery, Spicer’s Winery, Uncle John’s, Left Foot Charley, McIntosh Cellars, Northern Natural, Vander Mill, Black Star Farms, Crows Hard Cider and Virtue Cider.

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