A modest distillery with a global output
TEXT: EMMA RÖDIN | PHOTOS © BACKAFALLSBYN/SPIRIT OF HVEN
“From the steeping of the grain through to the malting, drying, milling and so on, we do everything here, and then bottle the organic products on our premises,” says Anja Molin, co-owner of Spirit of Hven, one of the world’s smallest pot distilleries. But while the distillery’s size is humble, its reputation is anything but.
The other owner, Henric Molin, is often described as a whisky geek. “He is obsessed with getting oak for the casks that grew in the right place, and he knows exactly where he wants to get the spices from. Everything is done manually, completely without machines, always in small quantities,” Molin explains. “Get the final product, and you can actually smell it.”
In addition to single malt whisky, Spirit of Hven also produces vodka, gin and aquavit. The small-scale approach always was, and still is, a conscious aim, putting quality over quantity at all times. Thanks to meticulous control over the distillation process and a state-of-the-art laboratory where spirits can be tested and analysed down to the tiniest details, the Spirit of Hven brand has come to be defined by its profound accuracy and has gained global recognition – so much so that developing spirits for other brands has become part of their operations. “We are never going to be a huge distillery. You can feel that it’s a family-run business,” says Molin. “But what that means is that we simply don’t have the capacity or marketing budget to keep releasing whisky after whisky – so it makes perfect sense to create recipes for others. Henric is an artist in this field, and by developing recipes for other brands he can keep creating even when we’ve exceeded our capacity to release new whiskies.”
In addition to creating recipes to order and occasionally producing spirits for clients, Spirit of Hven offers testing and analysing facilities and even designs distilleries for other producers. “To have all this expertise despite being so small is quite extraordinary,” says Molin. “But of course, it’s all about our focus on quality – quantity means nothing.”
Where will the distillery go from here? “We will continue to improve and to put quality first,” says Molin determinedly. “Our visitors are one of our greatest resources. With tastings every day, we can make sure to continuously tweak our drinks until they’re just perfect.”