Sunday, May 12, 2013

Vander Mill Cider Completes $600,000 Expansion and Begins Canning Hard Ciders

Written by  Dianna Stampfler
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Vander Mill Cider Completes $600,000 Expansion and Begins Canning Hard Ciders

Renovated Café & Tasting Room and Expanded Menu Also Offered
One of the Midwest’s largest craft cider producers – Vander Mill Cider & Winery – is introducing a new line of canned ciders. Earlier this year, Vander Mill completed a 3500-square-foot, $600,000 expansion at its facility in Spring Lake. This includes the addition of fermentation equipment and a canning system, which will produce 1800 16-ounce cans per hour. In all, owner Paul Vander Heide estimates his 2013 production to top 100,000 gallons.
“We expect these cans to significantly increase production – with an expected volume growth of over 100% from last year,” Vander Heide says. “We wanted to decrease the cost to the consumer by increasing automation and using a more cost-effective package.”

Three canned Vander Mill brands – Hard Apple, Totally Roasted and Blue Gold (formerly known as Apple Blueberry) – will hit the marketplace in throughout Michigan in the coming week, with special events scheduled at select venues (check out Vander Mill’s Facebook and/or Twitter feeds for updated information).

“We are going to continue our focus on innovation and creativity with our ciders,” says Vander Heide. “But we wanted to take a few of our core products and make them more accessible to the consumer. Our cans should now be available in more independent stores as well as traditional grocery.” Currently, more than 600 retail outlets and 200 bars/restaurants in Michigan and Chicago serve Vander Mill ciders.

In addition to the expansion in the production area, Vander Mill has renovated its 2500-square-foot tasting room and café, with the introduction of an expanded menu under the auspices of Chef Stephanie Luke. Providing lunch and dinner, offerings include hand-made creations like Pork Belly & Polenta, Marinated Noodle Salad, Housemade Dumplings, Duck Confit Sandwich, Pulled Pork Sandwich and a selection of pretzels, cheeses, salads and more. Vander Mill offers seating for 65 indoors and 100 outside (weather permitting) in a 2000-square-foot Cider Garden.  

Vander Mill opened in 2006 in a 5000-square-foot building, serving cider, donuts and fudge, in a market setting. In 2008, they released their first hard cider products in 750ml bottles and on draft. Speciality products will still be available in this larger format and Vander Heide says he’s currently working with Cider Maker Joel Brower on some barrel-aged products and brewery collaborations as well.

Dianna Stampfler

Dianna Stampfler

Dianna has been referred to as one of the most motivated, energetic and passionate leaders in the tourism industry, with more than 20 years of marketing, public relations and media relations experience.

She launched Promote Michigan in August, 2004 and has successfully established herself as an independent marketing representative for an impressive list of clients including Traverse Tall Ship Company, The Homestead Resort, ShowSpan Inc. (including Grand Rapids International Wine & Food Festival, Michigan International Auto Show and Grand Rapids Boat Show), Michigan Apple Committee, Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds – Michigan, Harbor Country CVB and Michigan Brewer’s Guild, among others.