While they operate in the shadow of West Michigan’s brewing industry, local cideries, distilleries and wineries make up a growing piece of the region’s overall craft beverage scene.
With more than 5,300 craft brewers already on the market, and many more scheduled to open in the near future, the craft brewing industry has started to mature.
The expansion in the hard cider market cooled last year, with the industry growing just 10.8 percent — a far cry from the 71 percent reported in the prior period, according to market research firm Nielsen. But Andy Sietsema takes those national market trends with a grain of salt, largely because they don’t count craft cideries like Sietsema Cider LLC in their research. “Sales out of our place were up 23.5 percent through this fall,” he said, noting that he also hopes to add two new distribution markets in 2017. According to Sietsema, “constant education” remains a key factor in the industry’s continued growth, even if it’s at a more sustainable rate.