During the 1980s and ’90s, apple farms were shuttering due to a loss of profitability, so the Schaefer family — longtime apple farmers in Conklin — stepped away from apple growing and focused on leasing their land to larger apple producers.
“The development of the Honey Crisp apple around that time was a catalyst for the apple demand picking up,” Chris Schaefer said.
In 2012, the Schaefers decided to re-enter the apple-growing arena with a new focus. “In the winter of 2012, we decided to utilize our homesteaded farm to start growing heirloom cider apples and to try our hand at producing cider. In the spring of 2013, we planted our first heirloom apples on our heritage farm and in the fall we produced our first batch of hard cider,” Schaefer said.
That first batch of cider turned out to be the catalyst for Pux Cider Taphouse, located next to The Cheese Lady, at 311 Fuller Ave. NE, which opened earlier this year.
Schaefer said the inspiration behind the taphouse is to bring a taste of the tree-to-table apple cider heritage to the Grand Rapids community.
For many generations, Pux Cider has supported the Grand Rapids community by growing, sourcing and producing its ciders locally on The Ridge. The cider is harvested by third generation apple growers and most of the apple cultivars grown on the centennial homestead farm are cider-specific and have a 400-year-history.
“Pux Cider produces ciders with an heirloom quality that surpasses other ciders that are on the market today,” Schaefer said. “They lack the complexity and body to make a good traditional cider, unlike the varieties grown on our farm. Our traditional heirloom cider apples tend to be high in acidity, tannins and flavor, which you won’t find in most commercial ciders.”
The cider isn’t the only thing on display at Pux Cider Taphouse. The interior of the taphouse features works by local artist Reb Roberts and the décor consists of wood accents creating a warm and inviting space, while the wait staff goes above and beyond to make your experience memorable.
Pux Cider plans to partner with The Cheese Lady to offer cheese pairings with its ciders, and customers can bring food or order food to the taphouse. Customers can enjoy a sample of Pux Ciders, such as the Orchard Brut, Rose, Four Berry Pie and the Peach-berry-licious, just to name a few, during visits.
Drinks also are available to-go. The taphouse will offer many take-home options that include standards as well as specialty batches. These will be available in 500-milliliter bottles, 12-ounce singles and four packs. Looking for an eco-friendly option? Pux Cider offers 32-ounce howlers that can be refilled.
This story can be found in the May 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here.