Gitche Gumee Ciderworks brings together outstanding technical expertise and local, community-based agriculture to craft the finest artisanal ciders possible in a fun, rewarding, and profitable venture. Who We Are →

Who We Are

Phil Kelm has been making quality hard cider for his personal consumption for many years. In 2014, Phil decided that there were probably enough local wild apples to share his delicious cider and the idea for Gitche Gumee Ciderworks was planted!

Michigan’s beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula possesses an unimaginable abundance of wild apples and feral orchards. Most of this vast harvest isn’t collected or used. We thought to change that and give our area a cider as unique as our land. A cider made traditionally, influenced by the soil and weather as much as by the tree and the cider maker.

Gitche Gumee Ciderworks is situated in Hancock, Michigan’s northernmost city. Our business model focuses on local agriculture, whether they be fruit, honey, or maple syrup; but we also use local businesses whenever we can. Sourcing apples locally also helps sustain a foraged agricultural product that is underused and underrated. These apple purchases help fund local youth groups and seasonal pickers.

Owner Phil Kelm is a Michigan Technological University and Siebel Institute graduate, and has a lifetime of experience in the brewing industry, installing breweries and consulting around the world. He’s won numerous accolades, starting with a silver award for cider at the American Homebrewers Association National Competition in 1992.

Tom Adolphs joined Gitche Gumee Ciderworks as the head of graphics and marketing. He is a native of Hancock, and works for Finlandia University as the Assistant Professor of Graphic Design.

Current Products


Entropy is one of the country’s only ciders made entirely from wild apples. Apples are sourced exclusively from Michigan’s Copper Country, washed, pressed, and then spontaneously cold-fermented without any added water, sugar, sulfites, nutrients, yeast, or any other ingredients. After 3 months, the “young” cider is then further matured in French white oak barrels for another 9 months. Bottled in 750ml champagne bottles and finished with cork and cage. Hand picked, hand washed, hand pressed, hand bottled, and hand labeled—Truly handcrafted

The result is in the style of a fine French Normandy Brut cider—dry, effervescent, and delicate, with a “Brett funk.” Color is straw. Aroma is of apples and Brett. Acid levels are medium, and tannins are a bit high, but mellowed from extended aging. You will find apples in many layers complexed with oak, acid, tannin, and Brett in a unique tasting experience. The finish is long, dry, and very fruity. Alcohol is 6.9% ABV.

Every year’s product is a bit different from the last due to changes in the season, apple varieties, and the exact composition of the microbiome on the apples. Current bottling is from the 2015 apple season and is limited to 115 cases.

Gitche Gumee Ciderworks - Entropy

Dancing Fatman

Dancing Fatman is what you’ve been waiting for! A highly refreshing, off-dry session cider. This is the “something missing” in a typical bar lineup. Not too sweet and not too strong, Dancing Fatman will be enjoyed pint after pint. This delicious tap option can be enjoyed at any time, for any reason, by a broad range of clientele—male and female, young and old, beer and wine drinkers, trendy or traditional—Dancing Fatman is the common denominator.

Made in Michigan’s northernmost city, Hancock, Dancing Fatman is a perfect blend of Michigan apples marrying tart and aromatic nuances. We use gentle processing techniques and ferment cold and slow for finer aromas and a more complex flavor. Every effort is made to bring out the apple character in Dancing Fatman.

Effervescent, brilliant, pale straw colored, and light on the palate, this lively cider is cleansing, not cloying. There’s plenty of apple on the nose, and the taste is balanced and crisp. This clean and subtle flavor profile pairs well with most anything delicious and is the perfect anti-IPA for those tired of heavy, aggressively hopped beers as well as those who crave the taste—but not the strength—of typical wines.

Dancing Fatman pours from your standard beer faucet with no head—typically saving five percent in lost beer foam. Alcohol is 6.5% ABV.

Gitche Gumee Ciderworks - Entropy


A collaborative effort between Gitche Gumee Ciderworks and Carmelita’s Southwest Grille in Calumet, we believe Carmelita is the first commercial thimbleberry cider anywhere! Carmelita starts with a Michigan apple blend that features higher acid levels. Carefully fermented cold and slow, the cider is married with local Thimbleberry juice for a hint of sweetness, another hit of the berries’ acid, and the unique flavor of Thimbleberries.

Carmelita is a rosy-purple hued, brilliant cider. Highly effervescent, the aroma is equal parts fresh apple and berry. Brisk acids combine with apple and Thimbleberry flavors that work well together, while still being distinct and unmuddied.

Carmelita is a very limited release available only at Carmelita’s Southwest Grille in Calumet.

Bottled in 750ml champagne bottles and finished with cork and cage. Alcohol is 6.9% ABV.

Gitche Gumee Ciderworks - Entropy

Buying Apples

Note — Currently Closed for the Season

We have already reached our goal of apples for 2017, and will not be purchasing apples again until the next season begins on October 1st, 2018.

Purchasing local wild/feral apples for $0.20/pound! We begin purchasing apples on October 1st.

This year our goal is 12,000 pounds. We love large deliveries!

Small, tart, hard apples make the finest cider. Big yellow apples, not so much. To produce the highest quality cider, we ask you to follow these guidelines:

  1. Apples must be legally collected.
  2. Apples must be sound, ripe, clean, wholesome, unbruised and unbroken skin.
  3. Apples must be picked and stored dry.
  4. We cannot accept apples from areas where fertilizers or pesticides have been applied in the last 10 years.
  5. We reserve the right to refuse any/all apples for any reason.

Wood apple crates, milk crates, burlap sacks, onion sacks, and even cardboard boxes work to deliver apples. Please don’t use plastic trash bags. You will have your containers returned.

Please phone ahead to arrange sale of your apples at (906) 231-4047. We are located at 350 North Lincoln Drive, Hancock. Last house on right uphill US41.

We will weigh your apples, you will sign a receipt, and we will write you a check.

Happy picking!

Where to Buy Our Product