My name is Jason Lummen, I am the proprietor of a small cidery in Grand Rapids, The Peoples Cider Company. My wife Kate and I established the company in May of 2012 receiving our liquor license in March of 2013. We are a small working class establishment, through hard work and some luck we have grown into a (still small) company with 4 employees, an offsite bar, and two farm market licenses.
When we started we sold our product in kegs at bars and beer festivals. While this paid the bills of the business it did not support our family and I continued to work a day job at the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. By the summer of 2014 we were struggling to grow. We couldn’t afford a retail space and package (cans or bottles) were an expensive proposition.
It was then that we caught a break, the MLCC legalized small winemakers to sell directly at farmers markets. Having grown up 2 blocks from the Fulton Street Farmers Market in Grand Rapids we jumped at the chance to sell our product in this new format. The market not only got our product in front of local food and beverage supporters but it became an important revenue source as well. Week after week customers would return to fill their bottles, share a joke and support our business. This support has allowed us to open a proper bar space at 539 Leonard Street NW (November 2017), vend an additional Farmers Market (Muskegon Farmers Market Summer 2015 & 2016) and quit my day job to pursue cider full time (September 2015).
Farmers Markets connect the urban community to the agricultural. They remove the barriers that often exist in receiving quality food products. Being a part of this connection is important for us not only as an agricultural business but also as a craft beverage producer. Craft beverage can often have a stigma around it, not all people feel welcome. Through Farmers Markets we not only reach new customers but people who may have never set foot in a brewery or winery before now have access to a quality local craft beverage.
We source 100% of our fruit from one family farm Hill Brothers Orchards in Sparta Michigan. The Hill family has been farming the same land for 5 generations. They concentrate on old american apples grown on full sized trees (not trellis). This farming method produces rich full flavored fruit with the complex sugars and tannins needed to make quality cider.
Working closely with the farmer Jim Hill, Jason works to select the perfect apples for blended and single variety ciders. The apples are pressed into juice at the farm then loaded into liquid totes and transported the 13 miles to our production facility. Here the juice is pumped into stainless steel wine tanks and fermented for 2 to 6 months. After stainless the ciders are further aged in american oak barrels adding clarity and complexity to the cider.
Only when the ciders are fully mature are they selected for consumption. The ciders are kegged and canned at our production facility for sale at our bar, farmers markets and wholesale partners.
We use no preservatives, no sulfates, no fermentation additives and no filtration. We strive to make ciders like they were made a hundred years ago, letting the quality speak for itself. Good wine takes time and the same is true for cider. #traditionalamericancider