Brennevingrova: The spirit of western Norway
By Hanna Margrethe Enger | Photos: Brennevinsgrova
Sykkylven is a beautiful municipality in the county of Møre og Romsdal, on the west coast of Norway. It is known for its many furniture factories, and was previously considered quite religious. So, it might surprise many Norwegians to learn that this is where Norway’s best gin is made.
Harald Strømmegjerde grew up on a small farm. But running a farm – even a small one – with young children is a lot of work. While on a trip to Ireland with his 16-year-old son, he visited a whisky distillery. He discovered that making whisky is very similar to brewing beer. With that, the seed of a new business idea was sown. In 2019, Brennevingrova Distillery was up and running.
Today, Strømmegjerde’s distillery makes gin, whisky and aquavit. Though Norway has a tradition of making aquavit that dates back hundreds of years, it’s not the first country that springs to mind at the mention of gin or whisky. Nevertheless, Strømmegjerde has won several prizes for his products.
“You can’t compromise on quality”
The secret to his success is quality ingredients. “You can’t compromise on quality,” Strømmegjerde says. “We want to maintain a gold-medal quality on an international level.” Competitions are a great way to assess the products, as they are blind tested by several experts.
To achieve this level of quality, Brennevingrova Distillery uses the best local ingredients, such as fresh raspberries and apples from Valldal, as well as blueberries from the surrounding mountains. You will not find any concentrates or added sugars in Brennevingrova’s spirirs. Water is the base for every type of spirit, and at Brennevingrova, they use fresh glacier water.
Many of the flavours are inspired by self-sufficient life on a small farm with gardens and orchards. “The idea was to use as many as possible of the ingredients you’d find in a garden or on a small farm, and to use them like a farm household would,” says Strømmegjerde. This is also a very sustainable way to source ingredients.
Strømmegjerde has exciting plans for the future: the distillery is expanding and will focus more on whisky; there are also plans to establish an apple orchard and apple-cider production. Brennevingrova’s products are currently only available in Norway, but Strømmegjerde is working on finding export partners in other countries.
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