Establishing a New Beverage Category
by Bruce Blosil
In 2014, as my wife and I were researching the possibility of launching a non-alcoholic beverage business, I came across a book about the world’s greatest cider makers. Despite being a non-drinker, I was interested in the technique behind cider making and the unique apple and pear varieties used. One chapter of the book was devoted to Eric Bordelet of Normandy, France.
I was taken by his story.
A former leading sommelier in Paris, Mr. Bordelet gave up city life to return to his family estate and farm to make cider—which mirrored wine in its complexity and character. Since we were finding it challenging to locate a lot of high-quality, non-alcoholic beverages at that stage, we came up with the idea to onboard leading cider and winemakers to create new non-alcoholic products.
I decided that Mr. Bordelet would be my first attempt.
When I reached out to him about the idea, he was a bit insulted and declared that he does not make kid's drinks. "Would you ask Chateau Petrus to make you a grape juice?” he blustered. The answer was a resounding no.
I attempted to reassure Mr. Bordelet that what I wanted was something worthy of his name and reputation, but it was clear the chasm between our worlds would not be easily bridged.
Then came an opening in the conversation.
He stated that even though he wouldn’t partner with Delmosa, I was welcome to come by for a visit if I was ever in Normandy.
As a former journalist, I seized the opportunity.
A few months later, I found myself wandering Mr. Bordelet’s beautiful orchards while listening to him describe the unique local terroir and its impact on his fruit. We toured his production facilities and discussed his philosophy and methods. When we reached his office, my respect and admiration for Eric Bordelet had grown considerably. I was determined to work with him.
Now that we had broken the ice and gotten to know one another, he allowed me to further explain the vision for Delmosa and how he could extend his brand into the non-alcoholic realm without sacrificing his prestige.
It was a little presumptuous on my part—counseling a world-class cider maker on the merits of crafting an alcohol-free drink—but surprisingly, Mr. Bordelet began to muse about what he could produce.
No deal was struck that day.
In fact, it took three more visits for Mr. Bordelet to become fully comfortable with the proposal and to develop his own ideas about how to produce a non-alcoholic cider to his standards.
Today, Delmosa proudly offers the delicious Domaine Bordelet Perlant—a blend of bitter-sharp, bitter-sweet, and sour cider apple juice with a slight effervescence, true to the Bordelet style.