Paul Vander Heide, owner of Vander Mill Cider Mill & Winery in Spring Lake Township, began distributing his craft hard cider in cans this week.
“It's a convenient package for the consumer and it allows us to get to a price point that makes our products more affordable,” he said.
The cider mill at 14921 Cleveland St. recently underwent a $600,000 expansion that includes automated canning equipment capable of producing 1,800 16-ounce servings per hour. The production department is in a 3,500-square-foot expansion at the rear of the building.
Renovations also included a larger and upgraded dining/retail area in the front of the mill.
“We're putting a pretty unique twist on everything,” Vander Heide said.
The seating capacity has been expanded to 65 indoors and 100 outdoors in a 2,000-square-foot cider garden. Full-service dining includes handcrafted hard and soft cider, and wine and beer choices.
Vander Heide said he's amazed at the way his apple-based business has blossomed since opening in 2006 with doughnuts, soft cider, fudge and ice cream.
“I never expected this business to turn into what it is at all,” he said. “This was not the original business plan."
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