Jan 23, 2017
Grissom’s Lost Creek Orchards sweeps 2017 Illinois cider contests

The Illinois State Horticulture Society (ISHS) sponsored its 28th annual Illinois and National Sweet Cider Contests and the 15th annual National Hard Cider Contest, held in conjunction with the Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism and Organic Conference on Jan. 12 in Springfield, Illinois.

Gary and Trevor Grissom of Grissom’s Lost Creek Orchard in Greenup, Illinois, repeated their 2015 sweep of the top prize in all three categories; First Place National Cider, First Place Illinois Cider and Champion Hard Cider. This is Grissom’s second time winning the National and Illinois Cider Contests and the sixth time winning the Hard Cider Contest. Lost Creek Orchards winning sweet cider was a blend of GoldRush, Jonathan, Mutsu and Jonagold apples and their winning hard cider was a blend of GoldRush, Mutsu, Jonathan, Melrose and Fuji apples. The sweet cider is a mainstay at Grissom’s Lost Creek Orchard, but the hard cider is an amateur hobby for the personal enjoyment of themselves, family and friends.

Second Place Illinois Cider and Second Place National Cider went to Pat Curran of Curran’s Orchard in Rockford, Illinois. Mike and Brian Edwards of Edwards Apple Orchard West in Winnebago, Illinois, won Third Place Illinois Cider and Third Place National Cider.

Midwest Cider of Merit First Runner-up went to Tom Schwartz of Schwartz Orchard in Centralia, Illinois. Raoul Bergersen of Valley Orchard in Winnebago, Illinois, took home the Midwest Cider of Merit Second Runner-up, and the Midwest Cider of Merit Third Runner-up went to Keith and Denise Boggio of Boggio’s Orchard & Produce in Granville, Illinois.

Judges evaluated the entries using a 25-point rating scale for cider quality characteristics. The judges conducted “blind” evaluations where only a randomly chosen sample number identified each cider entry. ISHS has annually conducted the sweet cider contest since the contest started in 1990.

The sweet cider contest presents awards in three different categories: National, Illinois and Midwest Cider of Merit. National awards are open to all U.S. producers, and Illinois awards are open to all Illinois producers who are members of the ISHS. The Midwest Cider of Merit awards are open to Illinois producers, plus producers from other adjoining states that do not place in the National or Illinois categories. Hard entries were each individually awarded points based on characteristics like clarity, color, bouquet, balance of alcohol, acidity, sweetness, sugar/acid balance, body, flavor, astringency and bitterness, any off-flavors, and the overall quality.

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