Sapsucker Farms Yellow Belly Cidery — the popular local site for cider, root beer, food, live entertainment, and more — was recently awarded several medals in the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, the largest cider competition in North America.

Sapsucker submitted six of its hard ciders to the competition, held annually in Grand Rapids, Michigan. All six were medal winners, with Juicy Apple, Barrel Aged and Lemon Basil ciders winning bronze medals, and Cayenne, Ginger and Wildflower ciders winning silver.

Debbie Morrison, owner of Sapsucker Farms with her husband Jim, said they were “pretty excited” to add more medals to their already stocked trophy case. She called the GLICPC the “premier international cider award” competition.

“We were one of the first gold-medal winners in Minnesota for our barrel-aged,” she said, referring to the 2016 gold medal the farm won for its cider. “The number of entries increases every single year, and the competition becomes stiffer and stiffer, yet we still manage to come home with medals.”

The competition included hard ciders from all around North America. Hard cider is, simply put, fermented apple juice. “Hard cider is typically a wine but it is similar to a beer,” Debbie said. “Hard cider has a low alcohol volume, and it’s enjoyed like a beer.”

The GLICPC also features in perries. A perry is much like a cider, except it is made of pear juice rather than apple juice.

“We could make perry as well,” Debbie said. “You don’t see a lot of perry out there, so it’s a lot of the cideries that will make perry, or wineries will. We could make wine, too, but we don’t have grapes. It’s just another type of fermented beverage.”

The Morrisons infuse the hard cider with different herbs, spices and other fruits to give each its unique flavor. “For example, we have a cranberry cider,” she said. “But we also make root beer, and we make our (non-alcoholic) ginger ale from ginger we grow right here on the farm, and we also make kombucha that’s also made on the farm. 

“So we always have non-alcoholic options on the farm, with the root beer being the most popular,” she said.

Morrison added that in Europe, cider is exclusively alcoholic, so world travelers need to be careful when ordering drinks for their children. “Just say apple juice,” she said.

An upcoming event at Sapsucker Farms will be a pop-up storytime, presented by Mac from the Mora Public Library, from 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5. Food trucks are on hand every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, along with musical entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays in the evening. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit sapsuckerfarms.com. 

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