Armada, MI. – Blake Farms, a third generation family-owned and operated orchard in Southeast Michigan, announced the launch of a new brand this week. Blake’s Orchard Ales are a line of all natural fruit ales made with produce grown on the property.
While IPA’s, pilsners, and sours are trending in the craft beer industry, the Blake family wants to go after a different market segment.
“The Fruit Ale category is one that we feel gets overlooked by a lot of breweries and is really a natural fit for Blake’s. The overwhelming success of our hard cider brand over the past few years has given us the financial freedom to explore areas where we can continue to be disruptive and innovative with new products, in new segments” says owner and founder, Andrew Blake.
The 800-acre orchard launched a hard cider company in 2014 that was deemed the fastest growing hard cider company in the nation in 2016 by Neilson data. Now present in twelve states, with strong chain relationships with Kroger, Meijer, Giant Eagle, and Harris Teeter, Blake’s Hard Cider is on pace to grow 89% by end of year.
The line of ales will fill a void on shelves by providing an all-natural product made with real fruit. Blake’s is keeping their same approach to quality with its line of ales as they do with their ciders, using as many products from the farm as they can without adding any artificial flavors. “Because the category gets overlooked, no one talks about how Redd’s Apple Ale has more sales and more consumers than almost the entire hard cider category combined. That’s where we see ourselves in the market, as being a craftier, more natural option for the already giant consumer-base that enjoys Redd’s” says Blake.
Blake’s Strawberry Ale and Apple Ale will be available early August in Michigan, quickly followed by Ohio and Illinois. Marketing Manager, Chelsea Iadipaolo adds, “We look forward to educating consumers about our new line and offering this category a craft option; people care about where their products come from and these ales will resonate with those who want real fruit in their fruit beers.” Iadipaolo mentions that they are experimenting with a third fruit ale and plan to offer it this coming spring.