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Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition to celebrate growing industry

The competition, held April 10-12, will exhibit the craft cider and perry - a beverage made from fermented pears -  made by producers from eight countries.

Great Lakes Cider and Perry Association

For more information about the event or to sign up to volunteer, visit the Association's website.


One of the biggest international cider and perry competitions in the world is taking place in Grand Rapids the weekend of April 10-12.

The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association will be hosting the 10th Annual Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition, which has over 20 categories that domestic and international amateurs and professional cider producers can enter.

Along with hard ciders in the competition, a more well-known industry, this event also highlights a growing market of perries, which are made from fermented pears. 

The association was formed by Rex Halfpenny, who was interested in craft beer until his interests shifted to ciders. After learning about ciders from the beer community, Halfpenny gathered cider producers and formed the association.

“There wasn’t really any way that you could get feedback from people who were experienced cider judges,” says Eric West, director of the Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association. “It all grew out of the fact that this association was trying to improve people’s understanding of cider and to try to promote what was then a fledgling, very small, cider industry.”

The competition first began in 2005 as the Great Lakes Olde World Syder Competition, with over 100 entries from producers who wanted feedback on their products. At that time in the small industry, it was hard to come by. In 2008, the competition was changed to its current name.

Last year, the competition received over 500 submissions from eight countries. This year is expecting an even better turn out, only proving that the cider and perry industry is alive and well across the world. 

The competition, dubbed GLINTCAP, allows for all types of cider producers to enter into the competition no matter their experience, whether they are commercial or noncommercial or where they are geographically. The competition is unique because international and domestic cider producers are able compete against each other; international submissions are not put in their own category. 

With a wide array of categories to enter, from New World Cider to Traditional Perry, both commercial and hobby brewers will have a chance for their product to be judged against others like it and get feedback from professionals.

The three-day competition, which is closed to the public, will begin on Friday evening with a training session of the judges, stewards and volunteers by the Association and experienced cider and perry producers. 

Tasting and judging will largely take place on Saturday, with groups of judges filling out score sheets and giving each entry a final score. 

On Sunday, there will be a “Best of Show”round where the top entries are put into amateur and professional categories and compete against one another. The Association has teamed up with the newly-formed Michigan Cider Association to host a lunch and award ceremony at the Pyramid Scheme. 

Though the event is industry-only, those hoping to get involved are encouraged to volunteer.

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