ASHLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — When the state-of-the art Riveridge Cider Co. plant opened less than two years ago, it was big news for West Michigan apple growers.
Now, the cider-producing plant just west of Grant is a tangle of smoldering, twisted metal, with piles of burned apples.
It was destroyed by a fire that burned late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.
"Just to get started and to have that happen while you're trying to build your market and build your business is a shame," said Nick Schweitzer, of Schweitzer Orchards, who had recently toured the plant.
The plant opened in September 2017, processing cider from so-called seconds — apples not quite good enough for the produce section. It was high-tech, capable of squeezing out 30,000 gallons of cider a day.
"They'd just gotten everything going and got the bugs worked out and got some cider out last summer," Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer said Riveridge gave local apple farmers another outlet for their fruit.