A love affair with Brittany

“When we share the same secrets, that’s when you will become a man,” my father used to say.

To him, there was no greater secret than a cider recipe. Like the wise man that he was, my father passed on his passion to me and instilled in me his knowledge: his knowledge as a Breton cider maker.

My father, Louis, was born in 1890 in Domagnédans, near Rennes.

After a happy childhood in the village where he was born, he became a wholesale grocer. He would go from farm to farm with his horse-drawn cart, collecting butter and eggs that he would then sell to grocers and restaurants.

In 1918, he started buying cider, which at that time could only be consumed by farm workers.

When I was born in 1920, my father decided to name me after himself: Louis.

In 1923 my father became a travelling distiller. Farmers would give him brewed cider that he would distil for them using a mobile still. He also brewed apples for his own use. At that time, he was brewing 200 tonnes of apples a year!

The cider and eau-de-vie were poured into barrels and delivered using a cart pulled by two horses to Breton restaurants, cafés and grocery shops.

In 1929 my father decided to dedicate himself exclusively to his one passion: cider.

In 1932, when I was 12, I sent a letter to my parents. This letter clearly demonstrates my love for cider: “To launch the business, cider must be good quality, clear, light and produced according to simple manufacturing methods. And now with courage and willingness, we should be successful.”

At that time, I went to boarding school in Vitré. I missed the sweet fragrance of apples and the many aromas of cider.

In 1934, I decided to start an apprenticeship to become a cider maker: my father passed on his secrets and instilled in me a passion for the craft.

In 1945, it was my turn to take the reins at the Raison establishments.

In 1949, the first bottled cider was launched. I decided to call it DOMA, a nickname for Domagné. The launch of DOMA was the foundation for development and growth: cider was no longer sold in barrels because the Raison establishments had purchased three bottling lines. This was the birth of cider as we know it today. Thirty people worked for me, 30,000 units were bottled every day and eight lorries painted with the “Etablissements Raison” logo would travel the length and breadth of Brittany, making deliveries.

In 1962, our cider was named RAISON. From then on, we began to sell cider outside of Brittany. Over the years, the Raison brand and Raison ciders became a household name.

In 1980, I started attending trade fairs and exhibitions in France and in other countries, to spread the reputation of my ciders.

I also sponsored events in Brittany such as The Cider Route and Bruno Peyron’s boat in the “l’Aurore – le Figaro” solo race.

In 1983, the RAISON brand was renamed LOÏC RAISON, as Loïc is my first name in Breton.

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