Reaching back 200 years: Peoples Cider brings tradition to Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS — This isn’t your ever so popular sweet apple juice with the word ‘hard’ thrown into the mix, these hard ciders that are easy to find.

Where did traditional hard cider go? Cider that isn’t sweet, that isn’t ‘fruity’ and that certainly isn’t classified as a ‘feminine’ drink.

Somewhere during the last 200 years hard cider has lost it’s roots. Even Jason Lummen’s wife, in 2009, claimed, “No one is going to drink just cider”.

Not to say things don’t improve with age and more practice, but there’s something more raw and rigid about cider’s history that Lummen, owner of The Peoples Cider Co., was drawn to.

After an inspiring trip to London, Lummen set out to rebirth his father-in-law’s homebrewing system. He set out to create a hard cider like those he loved across the pond. Something with more masculinity and dryness — something that makes a perfect wingman to any hard liquor, or something that can stand alone that won’t leave you with dreaded gut rot.

The Peoples Cider Co. conspired from an involuntary happy dance that Lummen’s body experienced after he drank his first sip of bourbon barrel aged cider. You too can experience your involuntary happy dances — every cider made by Peoples sits cozily in bourbon barrels months before it hits your lips.

“It is the paths paved by Bell’s and Founders for craft beer that has inspired me as well,” says Lummen.

“Without this great local craft beer and local supportive community, my success wouldn’t be where it is at.”

Nor would his wife be challenged to experiment with different infusions to create sought after unique one off varieties of Peoples Cider.

And Peoples Cider is just that — for the people by the people. Everything involved is all local, from the apples, barrels and glassware — it’s all made with Michigan love.

And recently, Peoples Cider expanded its love for Michigan, by setting up shop at Fulton Street Farmer’s Market, taking advantage of a state law allowing visitors to sample its cider while shopping for delicious local produce.

Peoples Cider is at the market on Saturdays during the winter, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. But it also runs shop at 600 Maryland Ave. in Grand Rapids, and is open to the public Wed. to Fri. 4-8 p.m. and Saturday from 2-5 p.m.

Hazel Mae King

Hazel Mae King

Hazel Mae King (aka Tiffany Lentz) has returned to the Mitten State after being absent for just under 8 years to live in New York, Los Angeles and Europe. Although she loves to see different parts of the world, Grand Rapids is more home to her than anywhere else. Diving back into the culture here, she has gone head first into the liking of beer, bicycling, working out, drawing and going to see live music. By day she is accompanied by her French Bulldog, King Romeo lV while managing social media accounts and ghostwriting for many different personas. She may need an extra hug or hello during the winter time because it is something she isn't particularly fond of...yet.

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