Cider for people who don’t like cider

Published 5:19 pm Friday, July 30, 2010

Grandpa’s Cider Mill offers 25 different flavorings to mix with its traditional cider. Photo by Aaron Mueller


Sarah Jollay is convinced if you don’t like apple cider, you haven’t tried hers.

Jollay, who with her husband Jay owns Grandpa’s Cider Mill and Jollay Orchards in Coloma, offers every visitor a free taste of cider.

“We get a lot of people who come and say, ‘Oh, I don’t like cider,” Jollay said. “But (our workers) are fairly relentless. They’ll really push you to taste the cider.”

And customers rarely are disappointed.

“If you don’t like cider, you just haven’t had good cider,” Jollay said.

Jollay says the process is key to a great-tasting juice.

“Over the years, we have gotten to a place where everything is overly processed and pasteurized, filtered and laden with chemicals and preservatives,” Jollay said. “People forget how truly good, fresh, unadulterated product is.”

All the cider made at Grandpa’s Cider Mill is not heavily filtered for a rich, dark color and full apple taste. The cider is also not heat pasteurized and is treated with light.

“It really maintains the integrity of the fruit,” Jollay said. “We try not to mess with it much. People are genuinely surprised by the taste, because they are used to the bitter taste of a preservative.”

And for those looking for even more flavor in their juice, Grandpa’s Cider Mill introduced a cider bar last November with elevated soda shop-style seats in front of a multitude of bottles of flavoring.

“We actually infuse our cider with different flavors,” Jollay said. “We blend them to order.”

There are 25 different flavorings that can be added to the traditional cider, including almond, banana, cantaloupe, caramel, cherry, peanut butter, fudge, coconut, maple and pomegranate.

While sipping different cider concoctions at the bar, people can enjoy a fresh donut, apple pie or one of many other dessert offerings. Customers can also watch the cider being pressed right inside the store.

“Kids love to see the press in motion,” Jollay said. “I love to see the kids’ faces light up when they really get how juice is made.”

Customers also can pick from a full line of Jollay Orchards jams and jellies, speciality gourmet food items and locally-crafted gifts at the store.

The cider mill has enjoyed great success since opening in 2004.

“We have such a nice area in Coloma, between the U-picks, the wineries and the Chocolate Garden,” Jollay said. “All of these places lend themselves to people spending the entire day out here.”

Fall is obviously the business’ busiest season, but summer also brings in a number of tourists on day trips from Chicago and Detroit. Jollay says the cider mill also has plenty of loyal local customers, some of whom come in every day for coffee and a donut.

With August just around the corner, momentum is building toward the start of the press season, which typically begins Labor Day weekend.

After a very big crop last year that produced about 160,000 units of apple cider, this year’s crop has been affected by heavy storms and rain in the area.

But with new additions every year and more people discovering the business, the forecast looks bright for the future of Grandpa’s Cider Mill.

Grandpa’s Cider Mill is located at 2941 Friday Rd., Coloma (one mile north of Jollay Orchards). It is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visit its website at