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Blue Duck Cider brings new drink offerings to Dawson County
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Jim Matzek has recently opened Blue Duck Cider, a new local Georgia-based farm winery, in Dawsonville. - photo by Erica Jones

Blue Duck Cider, a new local Georgia-based farm winery specializing in hard craft cider, has officially launched in Dawsonville. 

Blue Duck Cider owner Jim Matzek said that he has always loved working outside and working with his hands. 

“Having spent a couple of years living on my cousin’s farm in Ohio shaped my views on living,” Matzek said. “I was always happiest when driving a tractor or walking the orchard next door. I’ve even produced my own maple syrup. It was rewarding and I wanted to get back to that feeling. Life pulled me down a different path for years, but here we are finally making cider.” 

During a trip to Normandy in France about 12 years ago, Matzek had the chance to meet renowned cider maker, Eric Bordelet, who allowed Matzek to tour his orchards, facilities and sample the ciders. According to Matzek, this was when he knew he wanted to turn his passion and his extensive background in wine production into making cider. He began making cider and entering competitions, and after winning several medals he created Blue Duck Cider. 

Matzek said that, while he lives in the Johns Creek area, he was drawn to Dawsonville for his business because of the community and the growth that the county is seeing. 

“With all the growth in North Georgia and the modernization of county ordinances, we thought it would be a great time to open a farm winery specializing in making craft hard cider,” Matzek said. “We will employ all our wine production and alcohol industry experience to bring the area limited release craft cider, and for the long term, we’ve planted a mini cider orchard that will provide us stock for our planned orchard.” 

For its initial opening, Blue Duck Cider will offer several cider options: an orchard blend of hard cider apples, peach and strawberry flavors. For those not interested in cider, there are also several options of beer, wine and seltzers available. 

Customers can also enjoy charcuterie boards, and as the business gets established in the community Matzek said that he has several additions he hopes to be able to begin offering. 

“I have glasses coming in the next week or two so I should have bottled to-go options for all three ciders,” Matzek said. “We’ll eventually have mead, and we’ll probably have our own honey sometime this year.” 

Currently, customers can drink the cider in a two ounce taster, as well as eight ounce and 10 ounce glasses. The farm winery offers an on-site tasting room with comfortable seating and a fun, vintage-feeling atmosphere, as well as a space for customers to enjoy playing corn hole. 

On May 7, Matzek plans to host a grand opening and fundraiser at Blue Duck Cider. The fundraiser will run from 3 to 8 p.m., and will raise money to support World Kitchen Ukraine, a nonprofit aimed at supporting families in need in Ukraine with food to eat. He added that in the future he plans to partner with local nonprofits, like the Dawson County Humane Society, to help give back to the community. 

Matzek said that he is excited to have finally opened and looks forward to expanding as his business gains a footing in the community. 

“It was a long process, it took us almost a year, so I’m excited to finally have it open,” Matzek said. “I kind of slowed it down with Covid so I’ve dealt with all the logistical stuff that everybody else has dealt with, so finally it’s good to be open.” 

Blue Duck Cider is located at 30 Industrial Park Drive Suite 114, and the farm winery is currently open on Saturdays from 3 to 8 p.m. Matzek added that, as the business grows, he hopes to expand the hours to encompass more days of the week. 

For more information about Blue Duck Cider including updates on future options the business adds, go to the Blue Duck Cider Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Blue-Duck-Cider-102163989071767