Cider Sales Booming, Northern Michigan Producers Fight Growing Demand

It’s not a winery or a brewery…it’s a cidery and it’s a booming industry here in Northern Michigan.

Hard cider isn’t a new product hitting store shelves but in recent years small, regional cider makers have had a hard time keeping those shelves stocked.

Tandem Ciders in Suttons Bay opened back in 2008.

“I think a lot of people questioned just why we were opening a cidery at the time because we were a little bit ahead of the curve in national trends,” said president of Tandem Ciders Dan Young.

Tandem Ciders made 5,000 gallons of cider when they first opened, now they make 50,000 gallons and still struggle keeping these on store shelves.

“Every summer we’re like oh sell as much as we can we obviously have all the tourists coming, the visitors so it’s never been a problem but this summer we’re like whoa we’re getting a little bit low,” said young.

Saying sales are up 26 percent this year in the cider category for small producers.

“I think it’s a good diversification of product line,” said Jay Briggs, winemaker for 45 North Vineyard and Winery.

While more cideries keep opening, you can also enjoy a pint of hard cider at most wineries.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase since probably 2012,” said Briggs. “We’ve gone from 500 gallons to about 5,000 gallons of cider production.”

Tandem Ciders and 45 North both get all of their apples locally, helping out another industry special to Northern Michigan.

“There were a lot of people out there, a lot of farmers, who were ripping orchards out or on the verge of ripping orchards out and along we come saying hey we’ll buy those apples now and so I think it’s helped those farmers out quite a bit to find a home for the fruit,” said Briggs.