Being a long time follower of GreatDrams I was humbled when Greg replied to a recent email of mine. I wrote him about current plans on starting a new Nordic whisky distillery in Denmark with 6 of my good friends. After reading about it Greg invited me to do a little guest article on the site, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to reach out to the good readers of GreatDrams. Thanks for having me!
My name is Snævar, I’m a musician, I’m 32 years old and am born in Iceland. I moved to Denmark in 1996. My friend Martin and I and our respective families one day decided to part with the city life and move to a small and quiet village called Sall, outside of Aarhus in Denmark. Here we live in a double house and share a piece of land with a small forest with wondrous animal life and four meters high rhododendrons. We keep bees, chickens and wild boars.
Martin is an archeologist. After spending a whole day with his colleague Kåre in the cold rain digging in a field somewhere in the darkest of Jutland in Denmark, they took a break and wondered what else they could do in the future. That day Martin came home with a crazy idea.
Before long the idea became a plan and seven friends now make out the core of Sall Whisky Distillery: Lars – a farmer, Thomas Rye – a civil engineer, Thomas Holm – a sales trainer, Snævar – a musician and three archaeologists – Kåre, Mathias and Martin.
We’re going to create a completely uncompromising and organic whisky, using our own organic barley, grown just a couple of kilometers from the distillery. Malted right next to the field… This way we can experiment with old and forgotten variants of Nordic barley and other grains. But wouldn’t it be easier to just buy malt from a malt house in Germany? Sure!
Globalisation has in many ways changed the way we produce and consume food. Everywhere we can see a reaction to the industrialisation of food production. But in the whisky industry many distilleries, including the so-called craft distilleries, still buy malt from big malt factories. Here, the malt itself is made of barley from a lot different fields, completely eliminating the unique taste of the individual field. Maybe many distilleries don’t care about this aspect? Maybe it’s cheaper? Maybe it’s too risky to rely on local fields because of the weather? Maybe it ruins the consistency of the whisky?
Either way, at Sall Whisky Distillery we NEED to know how our local barley will taste like once we’ve malted, mashed, fermented, distilled and matured the spirit. So that’s what we’re going to do.
It matters to us that we matter to our local community. Industry has long left the small villages here, and young people move into the cities. We are the few young people who have moved to Sall from the city. But we think more people will follow. Creating projects like this, potentially creating jobs in the community, having an ambition to make cultural events and intimate concerts for the locals, preserve craft traditions and using local and organic ingredients instead of sending them overseas – this is what matters to people in our community and it matters to us. We hope you agree.
We’re raising the remaining 30% of the funds we need to move from test production to full scale production. To do this we’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign, and we’re already halfway there. We hope you’ll consider joining our little adventure.
Thank you so much for reading my rant! And special thanks to Greg for being so kind to us, and for creating GreatDrams!