Admittedly, the product variety of the Deutsche Spirituosen Manufaktur from Berlin can overwhelm you at first. Almost 120 different eaux-de-vie, distilled spirits and liqueurs, including a gin, doppelkorn and vodka, you have to take a little time to get an overview – but it’s definitely worth it.
Because what the two founders Tim Müller and Konrad Horn have set up in Berlin is probably unique in the world. After years of preparation and experimentation, they founded the premium distillery “Deutsche Spirituosen Manufaktur” in 2017. And their ambition for their venture was no less than to completely redefine “premium” in the spirit sector.
But how could they succeed? For the two of them, it was clear that premium is not possible in mass, but only in small handcrafted batches. That quality cannot be manufactured into a product, but begins with the selection of hand-picked, high-quality and natural raw materials is another important prerequisite. And the equipment for the production must also be right, which is why the distillation of the eaux-de-vie and distilled spirits takes place on the best available copper stills of German manufacture. And last but not least, the knowledge of the processes of production must not be missing. From maceration or mashing, to slow distillation, clean separation of the pre- and after-runs, subsequent storage, maturation and finally bottling – all of this has been meticulously worked out at DSM’s headquarters in a listed brick building in the east of Berlin and checked by strict quality controls. This also includes the consistent renunciation of the addition of industrial flavors and colorants of any kind, and DSM uses sugar exclusively where it is indispensable: in its liqueurs.
But how did the unrivaled product diversity of DSM come about? This is the result of three mutually reinforcing effects: first, there were no prohibitions on thinking; any idea, no matter how crazy, was allowed. Capturing the smell of a walk through an autumnal deciduous forest as a distillate, why not? And the spirit of German autumn leaves is truly a particularly delicious, mild and fruity-complex distillate. Secondly, however, the knowledge of raw materials and their optimal processing has been expanded and deepened with each new product, thus also facilitating new product developments. And thirdly, customers and suppliers were infected by DSM’s diversity of ideas and came up with their own wishes and suggestions.
From DSM’s point of view, however, premium also means not simply developing and producing outstanding products, but in addition to reveal something about them. For this reason, Apotheker Horn has put all his knowledge about the distillates on paper in an “Almanac”. Filled not only with expert knowledge, but also with personal and historical anecdotes or other interesting facts about each product, and illustrated with matching hand-painted illustrations, the Almanac is the perfect encyclopedia.
And so, it is not surprising that the manufactory with its claim to quality and appearance has made a name for itself within a few years throughout Germany and beyond. Various awards have also contributed to this. Of the more than 100 products that the distillery had developed and brought to market maturity by 2020, 18 of the 20 submitted to the DLG quality test were awarded “Gold”. This outstanding achievement was further recognized by the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture with the Bundesehrenpreis Gold Award.
For all those who want to make their own picture of the quality of DSM’s eaux-de-vie, distilled spirits and liqueurs, the 24-piece tasting box is perfect. There is something of everything: Classics, such as distilled spirits of Tarocco blood orange or hazelnut, the eaux-de-vie of raspberry and rowan berry, gin and liqueurs such as limoncello or ginger liqueur, can be found as well as the more exotic distilled spirits of autumn leaves, porcini mushroom or mountain meadow hay. And as a special highlight, there is also the eight-page DSM Journal in newspaper format with excerpts from the Almanac and numerous inspiring cocktail recipes.
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