SPRING LAKE TOWNSHIP — Paul Vander Heide knows what it takes to make a great cider.
Vander Heide, the owner of Vander Mill Cider & Winery, has rapidly grown his company to become one of the Midwest’s top hard cider makers.
In what’s become of an annual tradition, Vander Mill will hold its fourth annual VanderFest, a “fall-themed event to ciders.
“The general popularity of cider has increased a hundredfold over the last couple years,” said Vander Heide.
Like past years, the Spring Lake cidery has teamed up with local breweries, providing a sweet cider to make a collaborative beer for the event. In addition to Vander Mill cider and local beer, 11 other cideries will join VanderFest this time around, each providing a unique spin on the sweet fall drink.
“We want to make sure to include as many of (the cideries) as we can,” said Vander Heide.
And the drink tent isn’t the only thing growing this time around — Vander Mill recently debuted a new stage, which will showcase Social Bones during the Saturday festival. Vander Mill is also teaming up with Brewery Vivant to provide a shuttle from Chicago to visit Vivant’s Wood-Aged Beer Fest, and then VanderFest.
“We’re a close knit community of manufacturers and we try to support each other in any way we can.”
Visitors to the festival will enjoy five tokens — good for 6oz. samples of beer or cider — in addition to a commemorative glass. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
“We like the creativity we can bring to this festival. It’s not easy to get a brewery to brew a special beer for an event like this,” said Vander Heide.
VanderFest kicks off Saturday at 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at vanderfest.com.