Dec 18, 2009
Uncle John’s Hard Cider Takes Best of Show

Uncle John’s Cider Mill of St. Johns, Mich., earned top honors in a hard cider and perry competition that featured more than 80 entries from around the world.

The fifth annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition took place Dec. 12 in Grand Rapids. Uncle John’s Hard Cider, packaged under the Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery label, stood out among all gold medal winners in the commercial division and earned the highest accolade, “best of show.”

“Much of our success is due to the fact that we use the world’s best fruit,” said cider maker Mike Beck of Uncle John’s. “In our hard cider, we use all Michigan apples featuring a blend of such classic varieties as Winter Banana, Winesap, Northern Spy and a few McIntosh.”

Beck, who has been producing Uncle John’s Hard Cider for six years, also scored gold medals for his cyser (honey wine), apple/cherry cider and apple brandy.

According to Rex Halfpenny, organizer of the contest and publisher of the Michigan Beer Guide, this year’s competition was stiff, with entries from as far away as England and Nova Scotia.

“These guys take their business very seriously and have perfected their beverages for the most refined palates,” said Halfpenny. “Mike is a prime example.”

In the non-commercial division, apple grower Eric Fouch of Caledonia earned overall honorable mention for his “Going Polar” hard cider.

A total of 23 gold medals were awarded, 12 to non-commercial producers and 11 to commercial producers. View complete contest results at

“Fifty-seven percent of all entries came from Michigan,” said Halfpenny. “I believe this year’s competition was the best ever. We grew from 137 total entries to 160, further establishing our event as the largest fermented apple and pear competition in the world.”

Blind panel judging was accomplished by 26 judges, assisted by 12 stewards, and managed by four staff members.

The contest is sponsored in part by the Michigan Apple Committee.

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
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