What is calvados? If you know your French geography then you’ll know it’s a “département” in France. It’s also a world-renowned spirit made using Norman expertise. Let’s find out more about an iconic apple brandy as we introduce you to four Normandy distilleries.

DOMAINE DE LA FLAGUERIE

Domaine de la Flaguerie has been cultivating the art of extracting the essence of Normandy’s signature cider apple for over a century. The distillery in Ducy-Sainte-Marguerite in Le Bessin expanded its apple business in the 80s using produce from its 40ha orchards. Regional sales may account for most of its business but 7% of its turnover is in exports, primarily to Belgium. The distillery has updated its branding and marketing to upgrade the business and connect with premium distributors, mainly in Île-de-France.

Domaine de la Flaguerie

Over 700 tons of apples are produced by the organic orchards every year: apple juice, cider, pommeau… and calvados with up to 7000 bottles a year. 9 employees elevate the apple-based products that have won countless awards over the years. For example, the 20 year old Calvados won gold at the Concours Général Agricole in 2022 whilst the 10 year old Calvados AOC won first prize at the AOC Festival in Cambremer.


DOMAINE DU COQUEREL

Domaine Coquerel was founded in 1937 near Mont-Saint-Michel in Manche. What sets this distillery apart? It’s a cooperative, so anyone can supply the apples as long as the orchard is approved to meet quality standards. The estate works with 200 families within a 20-30km radius to produce the 6000 tons required for its annual production. It makes 450,000 bottles of calvados with 70% for export to over 20 countries including America, Japan and Scandinavia.

This is also where Avallen calvados is made, a drink co-founded by Stéphanie and Tim, the brains behind World Calvados Day which began in 2021.

domaine Coquerel

What’s their goal? To make the most natural spirit in the world. Which is where apples come in: they are zero-waste, low-carbon and integral to a circular economy. The partners donate 1% of their turnover to One Percent for the Planet to protect bees around the world.


BUSNEL CALVADOS

Busnel was founded in 1820 deep in the Pays d’Auge. It is the world’s market leader in calvados and produces 1,200,000 bottles every year at a rate of up to 5000 bottles per hour in autumn, the season for producing calvados. Busnel calvados is available at leading restaurants, wine shops and major supermarkets and up to 60% of its products are exported to over 50 countries around the world.

maison Busnel

Busnel calvados is also made using apples from 200 farmers under an exclusive contract within a 30km radius of its own orchard in Gonneville-sur-Honfleur. The Normandy distillery doesn’t just make calvados; it also makes cider, pommeau and apple juice plus a gin and vodka that joined the range in 2022. If you love learning a new craft, Busnel is always looking for new talent to join its team of 18 working in hospitality and production.


LA SPIRITERIE FRANÇAISE

La Spiriterie Française is based in the majestic 16th century Château du Breuil in Le Breuil-en-Auge. The distillery was founded in 1954 and sells a full range of spirits made in Normandy: calvados, pommeau and liqueurs. It has also been making rum since 2020 and gin and vodka since 2021. La Spiriterie Française – Château du Breuil Normandie makes a total of 420,000 bottles, including 300,000 bottles of calvados, with 50% of its production sold in 65 countries worldwide.

Spiriterie Française

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