What do you get when a couple of accountants with a cider making hobby go on a craft beverage tour? The birth of Farmhaus Cider
John Behrens, his wife Megan, and a few of their closest friends founded the company in 2014, but continued working their day jobs while working to build the business. Farmhaus Cider is in Hudsonville on a farm that has been in John’s family for over 150 years. The cider operation started in a converted barn and success quickly followed. “Within two weeks of launching canned and kegged cider for sales, we had secured 30 accounts,” John shared.
Their beverages have won the People’s Choice Award at the world’s largest cider festival 4 times. There was no tasting room on-site when they won the first time, but a fan found their address and showed up asking to sample and purchase cider. Someone shared the address on social media, and more people started coming. The team realized it was time to expand the physical building to include the ability to craft greater quantities of their products while serving the public on site.
There are ten people on the team making it all possible. From master cider maker and assistant cider makers to taproom staff, “Everyone is passionate about making great cider,” John told us. That passion is one piece of Farmhaus Cider’s secret to success. “All the ingredients in our cider are local. We buy fruit from about a dozen farms on the fruit ridge nearby,” John shared. Farmhaus Cider is truly a Michigan product.
When asked what positions most in demand were, John told us that taproom servers with hospitality and service skills were needed. John also shared, “Having team members who are mechanically inclined is helpful. The whole canning line runs with one person thanks to automation. There are over 50 sensors between where the cans are loaded, and the finished product. Having someone who can troubleshoot an issue when it comes up is really beneficial.” Farmhaus is a small operation, so there is no full-time maintenance person on the team.
The tap room is open Thursday through Sunday during the summer. If you cannot get to the taproom, you can find Farmhaus Cider in about 500 sites across the state of Michigan, either on tap or canned in area stores. They also ship direct to consumers and have customers in over 30 states.