From the time they started thinking of brewing beverages and opening the Texas Corners Brewing Co., the Schultz’s have kept their focus on cider.
Schultz Fruitridge Farms have been growing fruits and vegetables in Southwest Michigan since Victor and Dorothy Schultz broke ground on their 80 acres in 1951.
From McIntosh to Evercrisp, the fruit of their 10,000 trees have brought fans to their farm market in Mattawan every autumn. “We make really good apple cider in the fall,” Andrew says. “So that got our brains churning.”
His brother Bill, vice president of the family farm business, had traveled to the United Kingdom in 2008 where he discovered that hard cider is a big part of British pub culture, and a serious art for brewers.
The family thought, “If we make really good cider, we could make really good hard cider,” he says.
At first, they planned on opening a basic tasting room, but after they found a century-old, abandoned church in the heart of Texas Corners, the concept snowballed. TCBC opened in 2015 featuring cider, farm-to-table dining and craft beer.
Since then, they’ve always kept at least three ciders on tap, made with their own apples.
“The Dry Hard Cider and the Cherry Hard Cider we keep year-round; those we package in cans, and we have them on draft. We found out early on that people tend to like a more-tart, dry cider. The Cherry is about as sweet as we go,” he says.
Other ciders on their list are seasonal, with added fruits from Fruitridge Farms and other local farms — black currant, pear, blueberry.
The focus on cider makes TCBC unique. There are many brewpubs, big and small, around Kalamazoo County. For those establishments, hard cider seems to be “more of an afterthought,” if it shows up at all among their taps, Andrew Schultz, Texas Corners Brewing Co. says.
It’s one of the ways Texas Corners Brewing Co. stands out in the area. “Cider is a big strength of ours,” he says. “To my knowledge, I think we have the most cider options than any bar or restaurant in Kalamazoo.”