From the Days of Abraham Lincoln…
With a history that dates back to 1863, Yates Grist Mill opened its doors beside the rapidly flowing waters of the ‘then’ Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal. Amidst the beautiful countryside of Rochester, Michigan the memories began in full bloom.The Clinton River cascades over the Yates dam, which supplies the headwaters to power the mill. The dam was built to create a stream that the mill uses for water power.
By 1876, the Yates family installed a cider press into the existing water-powered process and began producing delicious Michigan cider. It then became known as Yates Cider Mill. Local farmers, orchard owners and landowners would bring their apples to Yates for custom apple pressing. Over all these years, Yates has been producing the same kind of fresh 100% all natural cider that folks enjoyed way back in 1876. You can enjoy Yates Cider Mill and the beautiful surrounding parks any day during the Fall. Why not carve out a little time to enjoy making your own memories at Yates Cider Mill?
What is SO SPECIAL about Yates Cider?
We at Yates make our cider with pride. It’s a big deal to us to use good fruit. It takes premium fruit to make premium cider. You won’t see cloudy or muddy cider here. Good fruit make a difference and you will see and taste the difference at Yates. Will it always taste the same? Nope. The taste and color of cider varies over the course of the fall season. It starts out in late August or early September with summer apples like Ginger Golds and Paula Reds. These apples are lighter in juice color and have a tart flavor. As the season progresses, more varieties ripen. That’s what makes the cider season interesting. As each week passes, different cider flavors can be blended to round-out the taste. By mid October, as many as six different varieties of apples are blended together. Try it! Many say its the best they’ve had. We hope you think so too! Yates cider is made without preservatives. We use a UV light process to treat our cider instead of pasteurization. The UV process provides a safe product that doesn’t alter the taste and color like pasteurization can. Please remember- refrigeration is still required.
Detailed History and How Apple Cider is Made.
We love visitors! We are one of the most popular local attractions in the fall for those who live in our area as well as tourists from all over the U.S. and around the world. School and scout groups love to tour our facility and eat our yummy goodies. Click here to book your tour now!
You are the reason we make cider!
Our visitors can learn our history and see our process. With our 26-inch water turbine providing direct power for our press, it’s an experience young and old are thrilled by. This very turbine was installed in 1894, making this a hundred-plus year legend! Our 58-inch culvert carries the water underground from a diversion dam right across the street to the mill, providing water power for the turbine.
About the Cider Making Process
The process of cider making starts with apples arriving on a flatbed truck from Michigan orchards near and far. These 20-bushel boxes are unloaded by a forklift – each weighs about 1000 pounds! The apples are then unloaded into a dumper-washer inspection area where cleaning, grinding and pressing begins!
The apples are cleaned, taken up on an elevator and dropped into a hopper. This cone-shaped box holds 150 bushels and is located on the second floor of the cider mill. Below, on the first floor, the remainder of the operation takes place.
A trap door on the bottom of the hopper is controlled by a handle on the first floor, allowing the fruit to fall thru to the first floor chute. On their way down the chute, the apples are chopped into small pieces, about four bushels at a time, then placed in a special nylon blanket. This process continues until up to 12 blankets are stacked.
The layers of chopped apples are on a large turntable that rotates under the apple press. The Yates Cider Mill press is called a ‘screw press’ because large screws turn to make the press go down. Putting 50 tons of pressure on the blankets of chopped apples makes some FINE CIDER! As the press goes down on the blankets, the cider comes thru the weave in the cloth leaving the seeds, peelings and pulp to remain inside the blanket. All by-products are then discarded down a chute in the floor and into a small railroad car under the mill. Periodically, the car is transferred to the dump area. Our water-powered, double table press can produce 300 gallons of fresh cider per hour!
The cider flows from the press to our chilled holding tank. From here, the cider is filtered to remove any and all small apple particles. Lastly, the cider is UV treated before bottling.Yates cider is made without preservatives. A “UV” light treatment is now used for your safety. Please remember- refrigeration is still required.