September 18, 2014

Company wants to make Au Gres ‘cracker capitol of Michigan’

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Au GRES — The company Allied Biscuit plans on making Au Gres the cracker capitol of Michigan.

The company intends on opening a cracker factory in the city’s industrial park to produce gourmet goods to be sold in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and parts of Ontario. Company representative Caleb Hawke said the company has made similar declarations in towns in Georgia, Missouri, and Tennessee, and wants to do the same here.

“In Michigan, you have places like Pinconning that are known for cheese, or Traverse City for wine, or Mackinac Island for fudge,” Hawke said. “We want to see the same level of notoriety bestowed upon Au Gres for crackers.”

The company will be pursuing the proper permits to begin construction on its facility within weeks, Hawke said, with an eye toward completion by next January. Allied Biscuit may also seek out a tax abatement for its property through the city and state so it can utilize more money for its investment.

Once completed, Hawke said the company would like to host tours to the public so they could see how crackers are made, packaged, and sent out to distributors. There will also be a cracker tasting room, where visitors can try out some specialty types such as rice crackers, matzah, pretzels, and a new type flavored like walleye.

“The boys in the lab are really proud of this one,” he said. “They’ve managed to make a snack food that has all the health benefits, shelf life, and texture of a cracker, but tastes like a fish!”

The reason for opening a factory in the city is because it is near the Great Lakes, as well as a large number of farmers who can provide the factory with fresh grain.

“Plus, with Civil War re-enactors in the area, they may want to have some authentic hardtack to eat, and we make the best,” Hawke said.

“We think Au Gres best represents our company’s future as it expands into the Midwest,” Allied Biscuit President John Castle said in a statement.

Hawke said he would like to see a weekend-long “French pride festival” take place in Au Gres once the factory is completed, featuring local wine, cheese and crackers. Since the city was initially named by French explorers, he said it seemed like a fitting combination.

“We’re picturing the city streets decked out with the red, white and blue of the French flag, with little Eiffel Towers and other symbols emblematic of the country best known for the wine, cheese and cracker combination,” Hawke said. “French trappers and traders were a major part of Michigan’s early colonial history, and we think they should be celebrated.”

Have a happy April Fool’s Day from us here at the Arenac County Independent!

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