MuskOx was fortunate to get an invitation from Blake’s Hard Cider Co. to come visit their orchard and brewing facility. We can't imagine a better way to spend a fall day than at an apple orchard in your favorite flannel shirt with one of Blake's core hard ciders.
Owner, Andrew Blake was our tour guide for the day, giving us a deep look into the Michigan-made family business. Andrew took us through their farm that grows the best apples, their (soft) cider production facility, the labs where the produce the hard cider that we know and love ... and everywhere in between!
Andrew was one of the earliest members of The MuskOx Herd, and a Mountain Henley loyalist. Since our Burgundy Flannel looks great on top of the Henley, we brought Andrew one and documented the experience.
MuskOx can now say that Blake's Flannelmouth is the official drink of the Burgundy Flannel.
Now, let's walk you through the tour!
First stop was the main cider mill (nonalcoholic) where we met Andrew
Andrew walked us through the cider production process including a tutorial on what makes an apple the right choice for this wonderful fall beverage. At Blake’s the apples are hand sorted before heading into the presses. That day they were working with a variety called rustic gold. Although it’s not common in your produce section this apple is definitely worth seeking out!
After graduating from Michigan State University in 2011, Andrew came back to the family business that his grandfather started. Andrew managed this cider mill while launching Blake's hard cider line.
Onto the next stop, the hard cider production
Walking among the giant casks full of the fermenting juice was absolutely amazing they take such care to make sure that each of their unique hard cider varieties ferments to the perfect blend of flavors.
MuskOx: How has Michigan heritage influence the future of Blake's Hard Cider as you continue to grow nationally?
Andrew: I’m a proud Michigander, I feel we have a unique grit that shapes our character. We have an exhaustive work ethic, we like to create things and still have our unpredictable weather and frustratingly disappointing sports teams to keep us humbled and striving for more. I would like to think Blake’s Hard Cider Co. embodies the essence of that hard work, humility and grit.
Andrew walked us through one of Blake's storage facilities where they keep their diverse set of apples fresh. We had way too much fun capturing MuskOx gear within the raw world of apples.
MuskOx: What are you planning for your next adventure?
Andrew: I’ve been lucky enough to have backpacked and hiked all over the world and I love the ability to disconnect and recharge. I loved it so much I found myself being immediately drawn to the next adventure, after a while I realized that I was just running from the chaos and stress of starting a business and working 24/7. I’ve been challenging myself lately to be present, balanced and content with the adventures I can find myself in, in everyday life. I’m embracing the craziness and enjoying the ride a bit more now. Maybe a boring answer, but definitely the most fulfilling adventure for me yet.
We couldn't agree with Andrew more! Everyday life is an adventure, starting a business is an adventure.