The cider maker entered Minnesota's cider scene in 2014 and opened its destination taproom and orchard in St. Joseph in 2017. Milk & Honey offers "complex, tannic, dry ciders" that are crafted using cider apples and heirloom varieties that are picked for their "nuanced, unique characteristics," a news release says.
A panel of experts and 10Best editors picked the initial nominees for the contest, and then the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.
When Milk & Honey found out it was among the initial 20 nominees, Kirstin Westby, wholesale director, said, "We had no idea our reach was that far. We’re a small cidery in rural Minnesota, I had to reread that email about five times to comprehend the magnitude and prestige of this contest."
The contest ran from Feb. 16-March 16, with people allowed to vote daily for their favorite cidery.
“We had a lot of great support from our dedicated fans,” Milk & Honey Ciders co-founder Aaron Klocker said. “They already believed we’re No. 1 and were determined to solidify our spot.”
Co-founder Peter Gillitzer added, “Our taproom guests were always excited to stop in and update us on our standing throughout the contest. They took on voting for us as their daily duty, and solidified this space as belonging to the community when they’d state ‘we’re’ in first!”
Milk & Honey's ciders are available at the taproom to drink on-site and to take to go at 11738 County Road 51 in St. Joseph, as well as liquor stores throughout the Duluth, St. Cloud and Twin Cities, as well as on draft at bars and restaurants. You can also order the ciders through the company's website.