Destille Berlin 2019 - Impressions from the Craft Spirit Festival
On 2 March 2019, together with a few other spirits bloggers, I travelled to Berlin to visit the Destille Berlin Craft Spirits Festival 2019. Just like before the event was located in the old Heeresbäckerei on two floors.
First of all I would like to pointy you to the awards list on the official Destille Berlin website. This list exceeds what I would like to cover here and is probably beyond the scope of a summary report. But one thing you get from the list is the amount of spirits and producers one can meet at this event.
A few selected products from the show floors
20457 Hafencity Gin from Hamburg
As you might have read in the 20457 Hafencity Gin review here on the website it is a product from Hamburg, created by René Wolf and quite tasty. It is a great alternative taste to the typical lemon-loaded gins with the fine kaffir lime leaves. If you have not tasted it yet, it is about time to do so.
Gin de Cologne
Just next to Hamburg lies Cologne, at least in terms of the gin booths. We tried a very light gin here and had a nice chat. For those of you who are into a classic gin with not too many extravagant tweaks and twists this could very well be a product to look into.
Hudson Gin (Regular and Gold Edition)
A fine discovery was the gin duo from Hudson Gin. A very fair price and interesting taste in the regular version, definitely not boring and with a balanced taste yet not too standard. Some herbal aromas and a good zing make the mint coloured gin a good basic gin choice for your home bar. The (formerly known as winter gin) gold edition is a bit more spicy biased and brings typical winter and christmassy aromas into your glass. Not too intense but notably different from the regular gin. Definitely a gin I would love to inspect a bit more in depth.
The Duke Gin
The guys from The Duke made it from Munich to Berlin and brought their range of gins to the show. I enjoyed a little micro G&T with the Duke Rough Cut and a slice of apple. They had their mixers with them as well which were released in December and are a great option for those spontaneous summer evening G&Ts when you do not want to carry lots of bottles to the lake or the park. Watch out for those!
The wild alps
On to some beautifully designed products from Switzerland. I was able to try the Morris Dry Gin and must say that seldom have I had a label reflect the taste so well. It is super-charged with aromas and different levels of taste experiences. A product absolutely revisiting with some time and proper tasting glasses equiped. But the gins were not their only products. Rum and two other spirits with experimental new ways of working on the taste. Those are not your typical flavoured vodkas but interesting spirits.
And action: Tastillery Popcorn Rum
You might know Tastillery from their tasting box sets and their curated webshop for various spirits. But they have started their own product line with a rum. A popcorn flavoured rum, which they served with coke and were not afraid to do so. Intentionally rebellious this is only the first of a few exciting products we were promised. Maybe I get a chance to find out more details when visiting the guys in the near future. After all, they are from Hamburg as well.
One might wonder why you travel to Berlin, only to meet people from Hamburg. The team from both HambucaHH and HELMUT vermouth were using a joint booth and we will definitely make use of the fact that the GinGinGin tasting room in Hamburg will soon be open. But before that let me tell you that your next Negroni might be a juice killer with the red HELMUT. Speaking of Negronis we were sent across the aisle and to another producer making a bitter needed for a Negroni …
The Mondino Amaro is a bitter which is made with full oranges and for that reason does not need as much sugar. The oranges bring along a lot of the sweetness. It is a more cost intensive process because the oranges soak up a lot of the alcohol as well but the taste is really nice. Well worth swapping your Campari for that next Negroni and try this. We did not get to taste the Amanero but maybe that is something I can take care of over on LiquorLabs.tv.
A brand new product are the Gemellii Tonics. The two founding twin brothers have created quite remarkable mixers which I will report about very soon. The bottles are still in Beta design as the final ones are dated to arrive around June/July. Tonic connoisseurs stay tuned as these products are really great new additions to the market. All natural agave syrup as sweetener and the bitter tonic for instance is a great one just by itself to tease you a bit.
From Bavaria to Berlin was the trip the Simon couple made to bring their fine spirits to the festival. They produce a ridiculous amount of amazing spirits and I just captured a fraction in this quick shot here. Gin, Brandy, Rum, Whisky, eggnog, you name it. The Sommergarten Gin for example might be a product you know from the Gin & Notes Vol. 2 notebook but I guess the little star of the show was the Tabaco Gin which is created with tobacco leaves grown locally. Fermented and then distilled these add an amazing flavour to the gin.
While I was assisting to capture the making of a Gin Fizz with the Oel3 Gin there was a chance to quickly try it as well. A super interesting product with the flavour of a great olive oil in it. Certainly something to revist as well and let you know more about.
Feld und Wiesen Gin
The Windecker Dorfbrennerei had two gins in Berlin of which the first is a nicely herbal one. But the second, the Feld und Wiesen Gin (field and meadow gin) brought some intense botanical flavours of green and herbal additions to the mix. At a reasonable price it was no surprise that this one might be added to the Gin Bar Saar. Steffen who runs the bar and a concept store and was part of our group of enthusiasts loved it immediately as well.
Hausberg Gin No. 1 and No. 2
On to Bremen where the Hausberg Gin comes from. Actually two gins, the No. 1 and the No. 2 … no they are not just yet another number in the gin market. While the first is a gin you might take as a standard gin, not in terms of it is ordinary, but what defines a classic gin, vibrant and light yet with nice aromas in both nose and the palate, the No. 2 is a complete surprise! It welcomes you with a nose that has lots of tangerine in it. Oh no, was our first thought. Hopefully this will not turn into some sweet pink gin without the pink please?! And no it did not! A super dry yeat intense fruit was the taste we found ourselves confronted with. What a mind-boggle indeed. Great job! What we learned was that the gin is produced at the Märkische Spezialitäten Brennerei which produces the …
Talking to the owner and founder of the distillery Klaus Wurm he told us that the idea behind the Edelstahl Gin is something to drink and be approachable. He called it a "Breitensport"-gin (popular sports gin) which he wanted to appeal to everyone. For that reason it was actually not too surprising that the spirit was a lot more rich in flavour, sweet and juice than what we expected from something with a name that translates to steel. Interesting facts about the distillery were exchanged and we moved on to the last stop for the day …
Alma Libre Mezcal
Being new to mezcal I got a little introduction to the product category, the making process and what different types there are. I will not repeat that here, nor would my knowledge be complete. A fine thing and one of the reasons why I started creating LiquorLabs.tv to get deeper into other areas of ditilled drinks. As the team is from … yes you guessed it, Hamburg, as well we will see what we can bring you in the near future to learn more about the category and the products.
Aqua Monaco Tonics
Last but not least the sponsor of the event, Aqua Monaco had some nice organic tonics on display and served them. Hope to feature these at some point as well.
In summary a fine day to meet the makers
Of course a day like this at the festival will be too short. Although your feet tell you the opposite after some time. But I must admit that it is a great possibility to get in touch withthe makers of the products. In order to learn a bit more about the making and to get insights from them as well.
We, that is Marius (@ginfluencers), Mikael (@syncro89), Steffen (@the ellofrikadello / @ginbarsaar) and yours truly, had a great time getting to know people and products. And when in a flock of such enthusiastic people it actually is big fun to see that many of the exhibitors enjoyed taking some time as well.
Despite the partially overcrowded halls, it was a great event and I am sure to be back again in 2020 as well. And maybe you will be as well?! Let me know!
Destille Berlin Videos and impressions
For more impressions from Destille Berlin have a look at the other profiles mentioned above or the Story Highlights on Instagram.