The Rapidian

The People's Cider Company working to bring craft cider to Jefferson Avenue

The People's Cider Company will soon be opening a tasting room, open to the general public, at Jefferson Avenue between Bartertown and Black Eagle Trading Post.

/Amber Andrews Photography

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The People's Cider Company will release its 2013 harvest on March 17.

The location is tentatively scheduled to be held at the Jefferson location.

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Jason Lummen testing cider for gravity content

Jason Lummen testing cider for gravity content /Amber Andrews Photography

/Amber Andrews Photography

The People's Cider Company is set to release its 2013 harvest on March 17, and proprietor Jason Lummen is working to be able to have their new tasting room, on Jefferson Avenue between Bartertown and Black Eagle Trading Post, open for the release.

The People's Cider Company currently operates out of a licensed production facility on Oak Industrial Drive. For now at least, the location at Jefferson will serve as an off site tasting room, with production still running out of the current facility. Lummen says that is plenty of room in the basement of his Jefferson location for production, but taking advantage of that space would depend on whether the liquor license will be able to be transferred. 

Lummen started making hard cider about 10 years ago after returning home from England, where he attended college.

"People consume it like light beer [in England]. It's the drink of choice during the day," he says. After being exposed to the popularity of cider in another culture, he decided that he wanted to learn how to make it himself.

Back in the United States, Lummen was taught by his father-in-law, an avid homebrewer since the '80s. 

Lummen's cider has continued to grow in popularity since that first batch.

The People's cider has been available on tap at places like White Flame Brewing Company in Hudsonville, The Last Chance Tavern and Grill, Georgio's Pizza, Hopcat and Harmony Brewing Company. Lummen distributes himself, hauling kegs in the back of his station wagon.

"I've been [selling my cider to] seven bars in the past year, I'd like to be at 20. I'm looking at three or four bars in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area and three to four bars in Chicago," says Lummen.

Lummen has been getting his apples from Jim Hill of Hill Brothers Orchards on Peach Ridge Avenue for about four years, and says the farmer's role is an important one in cider making.

"When you don't grow your own apples you rely on the apple farmer to put together a good blend to make your cider," he says. And a bad year for apples for eating doesn't mean a bad year for cider apples.

"2012 harvest was a shit year for apples in the fact that there were not very many apples," Lummen says. "However it was a fantastic year for cider because the gravity of the juice was amazing. The 10 percent of what the trees did put out had an incredible amount of sugar."

In the future, Lummen hopes to acquire the proper licensing to be able to be producing at the Jefferson location, as well as serve ciders and offer some local food options. Lummen plans to keep using the production facility on Oak Industrial for distribution purposes.

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