This past weekend's 6th Annual Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition was the largest to date. At 285 entries, Great Lakes is now the second largest hard cider competition in the world. Thanks to Charles McGonegal at AEppelTreow (Apple True) Winery & Distillery in Burlington, Wisconsin, for keeping me informed about this.
I'm not a big cider and perry guy but I'm enamored by this because I am a Great Lakes region guy and remember when there were many fruit orchards around my home town of Mansfield, Ohio, during my childhood in the 50s and 60s. I learned about hard cider and even ice distillation at a young age. Even though we were city folk it was part of the local culture.
Unlike most alcohol beverage competitions, which are run by large for-profit entities such as publishers, and dominated by mega-national corporations, this is a tiny little thing run by an association of very small, family run, mostly farm-based operations.
These days it has become fashionable for the big guys to pose as little guys. These are the real little guys.
The fermented beverage categories, of which there are many, accept both professional (i.e., commercial) and amateur entries. Because the law doesn't permit distilling except by licensed distillers, those categories are limited to licensed commercial producers.
Here, from Mr. McGonegal, are the results for the Commercial Spirits Divisions. Category 2006-3a Distilled - Eau de vie (5 Total Entries)
Gold Eau de Vie San Jaun Island Distilling Apple Eau de vie
Gold Eau de Vie Blackstar Farms Spirit of Pear
Gold Eau de Vie Uncle John's Cider Mill Vodka
Silver Eau de Vie Koval Distillery Pear Brandy
Silver Eau de Vie Tom's Foolery Tom's Foolery Applejack Eau-de-vie-Jack
Category 2006-3b Distilled - Brandy (Oak Aged) (5 Total Entries)
Gold Brandy (Oak Aged) AeppelTreow Winery & Distillery Wisconsin Apple Brandy
Gold Brandy (Oak Aged) Blackstar Farms Apple 10 Year Old Brandy
Bronze Brandy (Oak Aged) Uncle John's Cider Mill Apple Brandy
Bronze Brandy (Oak Aged) Yahara Bay Distillery Esprit de Pome
Bronze Brandy (Oak Aged) Tom's Foolery Tom's Foolery Applejack
Best of Show for the Ice Cider / Fortified / Spirits division went to Black Star Farm's Spirit of Pear
Okay. So everybody who entered won something. Congratulations to all the winners anyway.