A fresh Orange Label hard cider by Sietsema Orchards in Ada. Photo via fb.com
A Michigan-made hard cider competition that’s said to be the world’s largest will be the featured event during Grand Rapids Cider Week this month.
The Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition, or GLINTCAP, will celebrate its 10th year on April 10-12, and the newly formed Michigan Cider Association wants people to know about, said GLINTCAP Director Eric West.
The association wants to “capitalize on cider in Michigan the way Denver has with the Great American Beer Festival,” West said.
“It’s just following that model,” he said. “The competition anchors the week, and we worked with the association to get some outward-facing events to help make it more of a happening event.”
Michigan is a large hard cider producer and ranks near the top with the Pacific Northwest, Colorado and New York.
As far as apples are concerned, Michigan ranks No. 3, just behind New York and Washington.
To help drive awareness of the industry and help with regulatory concerns, the Michigan Cider Association was formed by a group of cider makers from Spring Lake’s Vander Mill, Suttons Bay’s Tandem Ciders and Ada’s Sietsema Cider.
The Grand Rapids area is home to several cider makers along with Sietsema, such as People’s Cider Co. and Hudsonville’s Farmhaus Cider. Vander Mill also announced a major expansion with a Grand Rapids facility.
The hard cider competition will be at the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott, with nearly 700 entries from across the globe.
Previously, the largest cider competition was The Royal Bath and West of England Society, which normally draws more than 500 entries in a state fair-like setting, West said.
GLINTCAP began in 2005 as the Great Lakes Olde World Syder Competition, with 45 commercial entries and 68 non-commercial entries. The name was changed to the Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition in 2008.
It’s been held in Grand Rapids four of the last five years, with 2014 the lone exception in St. John’s.
Most of the events for Grand Rapids Cider Week will take place at the Downtown Market.
Dan Young, the owner of Tandem Ciders, will lead a session on how to make cider at home on April 8 from 7-9 p.m. The cost is $35.
On April 9, various Michigan cider makers will lead an evening of cider and food pairing for $40. The whole day will see Orchards Invade! at HopCat, where most of the world-renowned bar’s taps will be flowing with Michigan pear and apple beverages.
Spanish cider will take over on April 10 with a large spread of food typically served with cider in Spain and a full cooking demonstration. The night is $50.
The April 11 edition of Saturday Sips will be dominated by Michigan cider and extended to 6 p.m.
GLINTCAP’s award ceremony will also be open to the public, with a small entrance fee, at the Pyramid Scheme on April 12. Ciders from various local cider makers will be available.