Blake’s Hard Cider Co. will be expanding its distribution reach this fall with launches into Indiana, North Carolina and Las Vegas. The long-standing family business has been taking advantage of the growing cider market and the unique (grower, presses, producer) role we play in it. In fact, with its added distribution, Blake hopes to produce 400,000 gallons of cider next year.
Blake’s has been growing apples since 1946, becoming a destination orchard in Macomb County that local families love to visit. In 2012, our family decided to enter the hard cider market by turning our unique family soft cider recipe and making it hard. Distribution began late that year and quickly gained presence within the hard cider market with full distribution throughout Michigan within six months.
Blake’s has been able to carve out it’s unique niche in the market with eccentric flavor profiles and names like the El Chavo, a mango Habenero hard cider, and Wakefire, a cherry and orange peel hard cider. Since then, Blake’s has continued to grow by gaining shelf space in large chain accounts like Meijer and Kroger statewide. It has quickly becoming one of the leading brands of Michigan hard cider.
The thirst for hard cider has also begun outside the great Mitten state. With its long-standing tradition of annual trips to cider mills and its strong apple culture, Michigan is positioned to become the frontrunner for hard cider production within the United States (rivaling Washington State). States like Indiana, Ohio and Illinois, which have strong apple traditions themselves, are gravitating towards Michigan’s craft cider brands like Blake’s Hard Cider Co. and Vandermill to meet demands. The hard cider market has exploded in the past five years with a 60 percent growth annually within the United States and has become the fastest growing beverage in the alcoholic beverage industry.
To keep up with this demand, this fall Blake’s finished production on a brand new 12,000 square foot canning and packaging facility. There are blueprints for an additional 12,000 square foot building next spring.
It has been an amazing experience to see this industry grow from its infancy. Our family is excited that Michigan-based cider companies are being recognized nationwide and that we are part of the movement.
Andrew Blake is a third generation family member and co-owner of Blake’s Hard Cider.