Bayne's expands its hard cider project to cement status as regional tap house

The apple orchard and family-owned bakery, cafe and gift shop, located at 5395 Midland Road, M-47, in Saginaw County, just installed its 24th tap in its tap house as its hard cider business grows.
Photo provided/Ben Coughlin
Photo of Angela Mulka

Bayne’s Apple Valley Farm, a fall destination known for doughnuts, caramel apples and pies aims to become a regional destination as it expands its tap house offerings two years after launching its hard cider project.

The seasonal apple orchard and family-owned bakery, cafe and gift shop, located at 5395 Midland Road, M-47, in Saginaw County, was bought by the Coughlin family, originally from Saginaw, four and a half years ago. 

Owners Shawn and Jenean Coughlin knew they wanted to acquire a liquor license after purchasing Bayne's to help transform it into an "experiential apple orchard" where people can bring their family and friends to spend the day. Their son Ben helps bring this dream to fruition.

"I knew that this could be a big deal," Ben said. "Bayne's, for the 52 years before we bought it, was a place where you come in and get your donuts and cider and leave in five or 10 minutes. Now people stay for hours on end with the drinks that we have and the food that we have and the experiences we're providing."

Ben makes seven hard ciders with the juice that is pressed at Bayne's. His brand is called the Bayne's Cider Project and the ciders are only available at Bayne's tap house. And he is working to get his product into cans to be sold statewide within the next year.

His ciders are made in 500-gallon batches and are processed in a facility north of Detroit.

"The gentleman that I make it with, his name is Paul, he is one of the most decorated cider makers in the country, and he and I get to do some really fun things together," Ben said.

"If you come to the Traverse City area, for instance, a lot of the places up here do relatively similar things because they're trying to emulate their own apples that they grow on-site," Ben continued. "But since we get all of our apples for cider from Grand Rapids, I'm not as connected to the actual apple itself, compared to most other cideries. So that means I can kind of play around with the juice that we press."

For example, one of Ben's latest creations is a blueberry, raspberry-flavored hard cider with blue raspberry Dum Dum Lollipops dissolved into it. Another is a pineapple, mango-flavored hard cider with a bunch of Mexican spices like ghost peppers and reaper peppers.

Baynes tap house

Baynes tap house

Photo provided/Ben Coughlin
Baynes tap house

Baynes tap house

Photo provided/Ben Coughlin
Bayne's makes seven hard ciders and works with 18 hard ciders companies across Michigan to fill its 24 taps.

Additionally, his ciders are based on song titles. For instance, the pineapple passionfruit cider is called "Tropic Like It's Hot" after the Snoop Dogg song. And, the blackberry lemon rhubarb cider is called "Back in Blackberry" after the AC/DC song. 

"That's another way we distinguish ourselves," Ben said. "We're having a lot of fun. We started two years ago and it has come a long way from just making ciders to now being able to say we'll be in cans soon."

Guests can find traditional fall favorites like cider doughnuts in addition to 24 taps in Bayne's tap house. The taps consist of craft beer and hard ciders from across Michigan. Ten of the taps stay cider 100% of the time with two being ciders created by Ben. The other eight hold ciders made from across Michigan as Bayne's works with 18 cider companies statewide.

"I'm not doing the normal ciders, I guess you could say," Ben continued. "My family wants to own this for the next 50 years hopefully so we wanted to put our own spin on it and give it its own feel."

Baynes tap house

Baynes tap house

Photo provided/Ben Coughlin
Baynes tap house

Baynes tap house

Photo provided/Ben Coughlin
Bayne's plans to start serving wine and cocktails like gin and tonics and bloody marys on tap this fall.

On top of the alcohol, Bayne's works with 55 Michigan vendors to sell candles, clothing and food from companies like the Cherry Republic based in Traverse City. And it finished construction on its full-service kitchen a few weeks ago so "it's only going to get bigger and better," Ben said. 

Over the next half-decade or so, Bayne's is looking to branch out across the state of Michigan, Ben said. For now, visit Bayne's Apple Valley in Freeland to taste its ciders and many others created in the Mitten.