Patrick Kwiatkowski, one of the founders of City Orchard found inspiration in Normandy. (Credit: City Orchard).

With the opening of City Orchard, cider is back in fashion and moving to Houston. The three founders of the establishment, Patrick Kwiatkowski, Mathew Smith and Clay Watson, plan to take over the local market and give themselves two years to succeed in convincing the public.

The softening of state laws and the popularity of craft beer are behind this new fashion, according to the three associates. Mathew Smith, originally from New York State where he grew up in the shade of apple blossoms in the family orchards, dreamed of exporting his know-how to the south of the United States, just like Patrick Kwiatkowski , a native of Michigan. " We met by happy coincidence and at that time we decided to pool our projects, our passions and our goals. The culmination was the creation of this company where everyone has their place "Explains this former chemical engineer who lived for several years in France and especially in Normandy where he learned all the techniques of making cider (hard cider in English). " The apples we use to make our ciders come from the Great Lakes region, mainly from the Smith family farm. We use no less than 38 kinds of apples, including European ones like the French Noel des Champs, Vilberie et Médaille d'or or the English Yarlington Mill, Brown Snout, Chisel Jersey among others. City Orchard currently produces 21,000 liters per quarter. We cross our cultures strategically to get the best cider possible. The quality of the fruit is very important in arriving at different variables. To date we have 4 kinds of raw, dry and semi-dry ciders. Our goal is to reach a dozen in barrels a few months and establish our. We are also working to enhance tastes by combining cider with other fruits such as plums, grape skins, honey Explains Patrick Kwiatkowski.

In an area of ​​1000 square meters, half is devoted to production while the rest has been converted into a tasting bar which will allow them to establish their brand. " Our cider comes in three ranges: the Apple Tree series, the Fresca fruit infusion series and the Orchard Blend series. The company also offers several craft beers made by Clay Watson, third partner, Texan and brewer by trade. ", Comments the latter. Ultimately, their goal is to sell their cans to supermarket chains (HEB, Kroger, Central Market), restaurants (already twenty) and in delicatessens.

The labyrinth inspired by the cathedral of Bayeux (Calvados), a tribute to the Norman roots of cider. (CD)

" We are already in the bars of Whole Food Markets and we plan to establish ourselves in Dallas, San Antonio next year », He assures us in perfect French. The strategy of the three partners is to expand into other southern states such as Mississippi, Alabama or Louisiana from their distribution center in Houston. Patrick Kwiatkowski wanted to show his respect for France by reproducing in the cider garden, the labyrinth of the cathedral of Bayeux, located in Calvados, mythical region of the orchards of France. "I wanted to connect with Normandy, a country of know-how and the largest cider producing region in the world. We are even considering collaboration with a Norman partner. ", He sums up. It is a fact, for him, cider is an old product that offers a new youth.


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