Produce company branches into making apple cider


Grant-based Riveridge Cider Co. makes 100-percent apple cider in several blends. Courtesy Riveridge Cider Co.

A produce company in the region is expanding into the cider-making business.

Sparta-based Riveridge Produce Marketing said last week it expanded with the addition of Riveridge Cider Co.

The 17,400-square-foot facility, located in Grant, is fully operational and has the capacity to produce 30,000 gallons of cider a day.

The new facility cold presses and bottles fresh varietal blends of apple cider, including Fuji, gala and honeycrisp.

The first bottles rolled off the line on Sept. 8.

Eric Rockafellow, a 22-year cider veteran, led the operation of converting controlled-storage buildings into the existing cider production facility, which began this spring.

Rockafellow will manage every aspect of the supply chain, from sourcing apples to helping customers, making sure they’re getting the order quantity and quality promised.

“Building a cidery from scratch provides a number of opportunities to pick and choose what’s important when it comes to equipment, variety blends, etc. to make the cider we want to make — one with consistent flavor, no matter the time of year,” Rockafellow said.

Riveridge Produce Marketing says it markets about 35 percent of the Michigan fresh apple crop. At the same time, often less than 50 percent of apples make it into a consumer package, leaving "extra inventory" for cider, according to the company.

“Thanks to our many years in the produce business and the invaluable relationships, we felt we were uniquely positioned to market and grow Michigan cider,” said Don Armock, president, Riveridge Produce Marketing. “We want to encourage the consumption of fresh Michigan cider year-round, and by building our own facility, we are able to get to the capacity the market has been calling for.”

Riveridge Produce Marketing

Riveridge Produce Marketing is an apple grower, packer, shipper and marketer.

The company says it represents about one-third of the Michigan apple crop and sells apples to retailers and distributors around the globe.

It serve markets in North America, Europe and Asia.

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