By Amanda Renkiewicz
Tastes of the season and a truly exceptional view make Suttons Bay Ciders a must visit for anyone seeking crisp ciders and astounding scenery. Owners Mark and Madelynn Korzon were out to find their next adventure, and settled on combining their artistic talents with Leelanau Peninsula agriculture. Suttons Bay Ciders was the remarkable result. The Korzons traveled the long path of selecting a location, obtaining permits, and building a tasting room. The end result is an ivory building nestled into the landscape like it was meant to be there. It sits in gentle concordance between the woods, water, and sky, on arguably the most gorgeous spot in the Traverse City area.
The drive up to Suttons Bay Ciders is quite literally up. The hill is absolutely massive and makes for quite a fun trek to the parking lot. Placed at the top point of the hill, the tasting room is surrounded by tall trees and strewn hedges. A flat rock walkway leads visitors to an unassuming entry door. Open the door, and you step into a fantastically warm, comfortable tasting room. Wood paneling and hanging Edison lights with exposed bulbs set a rustic feel. A gleaming wood tasting bar extends far enough to comfortably seat a crowd. Behind the bar and to the side, large windows seem to frame the view like Thomas Kinkaid paintings, but they are simply showing the ever-present beauty of Northern Michigan. Breathtaking is the best word to describe it.
As if the ambiance isn’t enough, the cider offerings are absolute fun. The Sidra LaPeño is flavored with habañero and jalapeño peppers, providing a kick that brightens the coldest day. I Spy Ginger was a 2018 Gold medal winner for spiced cider, and combines ginger and lemon notes. For the traditionalist, the Smitten is a semi-sweet, perennial palette-pleaser. Acknowledging the area’s obsession with cherries, their Cherry Fest cider is a blend of two types of cherries, and has a tart, fresh taste. Ready for something new? The Testamint is a daring partnership of aromatic mint with hard apple cider.
It would be a glaring mistake to visit Suttons Bay Ciders without stepping outside onto the expansive wood patio. With multiple seating options and a view that makes you feel like a bird, it must officially be declared as the most perfect patio in the area. Paradise seems right at hand. Enjoy the fall foliage or winter snow while you eat complimentary popcorn or order a charcuterie board. If you’re lucky, Geordie the cider dog will make an appearance and try to sneak some of your snacks from you. This playful pup is another highlight of the family atmosphere at Suttons Bay Ciders. The Korzans demonstrate their humor through their social media, with a photo of their dog in front of the fall foliage, captioned cheekily with, “The saddest time of the year to be color blind”.
Suttons Bay Ciders is available as a party space and wedding venue for up to 120 people. They also regularly have events, including “Moonrise over the Bay”. Moonrise evenings include a stunning view of the night sky, live music, cider, hot dogs, and a bonfire late into the night. Visit their tasting room at 10530 E Hilltop Road in Suttons Bay, and don’t forget to take a growler to fill up with your favorite new drink!