In the quiet, rolling hills of St. Joseph, you’ll find Milk & Honey Ciders nestled just outside of town. And while Peter, Cidermaker & Co-Owner referred to it as “a boutique cider operation in the middle of nowhere,” they’ve put Central MN on the map, being named USA Today’s Best Cidery in 2021. We say cheers to that!
Milk and Honey Ciders is focused on the celebration of cider, “an important historical and cultural beverage.” They focus on cider-specific apple varieties that are very expressive in terms of aroma, body, acid, tannin, and mouthfeel. They have several orchards, a processing facility, cellars, and packaging all out of their St Joseph location.
Peter told us all of the founders all grew up in the Rockville, Cold Spring, and Avon areas. “I still live in Cold Spring. I love the landscape – forest, fields, lakes… and the people in Greater St. Cloud are great, hardworking, generous, industrious, and they like to have a good time!”
“St. Joe was an obvious place for us to build our business. It’s a great community with a sense of place. There’s lots going on in terms of food, beverage, entertainment, and the arts. This area is very entrepreneurial. It is part of the reason we want to be here. Our guests appreciate local businesses, the government works to promote business rather than hinders it, and the workforce here is industrious and hard-working. Plus, real estate prices are fair. It’s a great place to build something from scratch. We have a deep connection to St John’s University, too, and it’s great being in their backyard. Plus, the interstate provides good access to the Metro and people traveling through.”
Milk & Honey isn’t your average cidery – they pour themselves into their craft and focus on every aspect of the cider from orchards to cellars to fermentation. “We obtain high-quality cider fruit and then get out of the way and let the apples shine.” And shine, they do! You can find Milk & Honey in over 300 restaurants and liquor stores here in Minnesota and a handful of establishments on the East Coast.
And while Milk & Honey is a smashing success, we had to ask – what’s it like to be a cider in a brewery-dense world? “There’s room for all beverages. Cider is a unique, stand-alone drink in a world full of wine, beer, NAs, spirits, coffee, tea, etc.”
“People ask how we started, and really it was inspired by a love of cider, food, beverage, and agriculture. Cider is a historically significant beverage that was widely consumed in the area, state, and country. We can grow fantastic cider apples here in Central MN and we should drink more of it!”
If this story and summer have you thirsting for an ice-cold craft cider, check them out! You can get more information on their website about their live music Patio Sessions all summer long and their employment opportunities – http://www.milkandhoneyciders.com/.