Blakes Farms in Armada Township in northern Macomb County — maker of Blakes Hard Cider, farm-style foods, and other products — is building a $9 million, state-of-the-art processing facility in Walcott, N.Y. that is set to go into operation in the fourth quarter of this year.
Blake’s Farms says its cider operation has experienced rapid growth, producing more than 875,000 cases (2 million gallons) of cider in the last year, making it one of the largest hard cider producers in the nation. Founded as a family-run apple farm in 1946, the company began manufacturing hard cider in 2013, and now distributes its products to 21 states.
“As Blake’s continues its pursuit of being the stewards of all things apples, we felt compelled to invest in regions with robust apple growing and processing traditions,” says Andrew Blake, co-owner and president of Blake Farms. “We intend to be a sustainable grower, processor, and fermenter of all things apples and we couldn’t be more excited about engaging with the rich apple growing tradition found in upstate New York. We are excited at the opportunity to become a member of the Finger Lakes community and we feel this is the first step of our commitment to sustainable agriculture in the state and region.”
The company says it considered expanding elsewhere but selected Wayne County (New York) for this project due to its reputation as the top apple-producing county in all of New York state.
The operation is expected to create up to 69 new jobs in the Finger Lakes region.
Empire State Development (ESD) is supporting the company’s expansion in New York state with up to $600,000 in performance-based Excelsior Tax Credits in exchange for the company’s job creation commitments. Wayne County and Cornell AgriTech also are assisting Blake Farms with the project.
“Cheers to Blake’s Farms for choosing to expand its hard cider production in the Finger Lakes — New York’s other Big Apple,” says Hope Knight, president, CEO, and commissioner of ESD. “Construction of the state-of-the-art facility in the Empire State’s highest apple-producing county will add great-paying local jobs, boost the regional economy, and reinforce the state’s craft beverage and agribusiness industry leadership.”