Hard cider interest spells growth for mill
With growing popularity in hard cider, a Spring Lake cider mill and winery continues to expand its distribution to meet demands.
Vander Mill, 14921 Cleveland St., is already self-distributing its ciders to 28 bars/restaurants and 40 store retailers across the state, mostly in West Michigan — with additional distribution to two Chicago establishments. And with two establishments on the state’s east side, Vander Mill is now furthering distribution to the Detroit area as well as Chicago.
“We’ve seen quite a bit of interest in hard cider,” owner Paul Vander Heide said. “We are continuing to bring it to the people.”
Vander Mill opened in September 2006 and first began distribution in June 2008 at Rosebud Bar & Grill in neighboring Grand Haven. Shortly after, its hard cider was on tap at HopCat in Grand Rapids.
Besides growing distribution, Vander Mill is also expanding its mill. By mid-June, the owner is set to open a 2,500-square foot serving area where pints of cider and glasses of wine will be served. Vander Heide said the mill may also serve lunch and dinner.
“We’ve got some exciting stuff going on,” he said, adding that Vander Mill was recently state-approved for a microbrewing license and is working on federal approval. The owner says Vander Mill will brew various fruit beers, “things that are kind of in our vein.”
Vander Mill today began operating with its summer hours, which are Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday noon to 7 p.m. To lure customers, the store is offering 25 percent off everything in its store today through Thursday.
Along with the new hours, the mill also began pressing its summer stock of ciders which will continue during the next few weeks, according to Vander Heide.
“We’re building up inventory for the next few months,” he said. “Since we use only Michigan apples, we work with a local grower to make sure we have access to enough apples for what we need.”
This week, Vander Mill introduces its latest concoction, Michigan Wit, a semi-dry apple cider spiced in the traditional Belgian wit style. The cider was special-released at HopCat last week, with release on store shelves and bar taps this week.
To help keep cider enthusiasts aware of Vander Mill’s ever-expanding distribution, the cider mill announced the launch of its Cider Finder, which uses Google Map technology to show retailers and restaurants/bars where its ciders are sold. The map shows green icons indicating retailers and red icons where pints are sold. You can click here to see the map.