François Pouliot, founder of the cider house, has just celebrated his 59th birthday. We thought this was a great opportunity to tell you about some of the stages of his hectic life. We continue the story here.
Part 2 of 4.
We remember that the first bottles of Neige (then defined as a sweet cider) were bottled in 1995 at La Face Cachée de la Pomme and that the first label in the world to receive the mention “Ice Cider” was the one affixed to Neige harvest 1997.
In 1998, the Journal de Montréal published an article on La Face Cachée de la Pomme. We're talking about a whole new style of cider. François was then 33 years old. It is not a question here of commenting on François' style at this time but rather of emphasizing the importance of this newspaper article. The publication is decisive because it speaks for the first time in the world of “ice cider”.
The cider market at the time
The author, journalist Robert Leblond, writes: “In recent years, the popularity of cider has continued to grow.” In the text, we find terms like “p’tit drink”, “little sin” or “new age” cider which betray the era. François is quoted: “/.../ people love local products more and more and in Quebec, we have become more refined in the field. We developed a taste for good.”
The journalist continues and mentions an annual production of 2,000 bottles of ice cider but also that François aspires to produce “10,000 very soon”. It's obvious, even at that time, it was a real hobby for the young entrepreneur: 10,000 bottles is ambitious, but it's really not enough to make a living from it!
The orchard has 800 apple trees on land which then covers 13 acres. Between the numerous return trips between Montreal and Hemmingford or between Paris and Montreal for the production of video clips and film projects, François welcomes visitors on weekends at the cidery and hosts tastings. In the fall, he adds more for u-pick! The orchard has 12 varieties of apples. However, in certain cases, Francis does not yet discern the type of apples that grow on his land. Fortunately, Verger Pelletier, his neighbor across the street, will help him identify the different fruits. Over time, François will also receive help from Verger Petch for pressing apples, from Cidrerie du Minot for winemaking advice and from Verger Phillion at other times for growing trees.