On another cold and sunny berlin day spiritsfully visited a distillery in the north east of the city. Urban distilleries are not limited to New York and Brooklyn indeed. The Preussische Spirituosen Manufaktur was actually created in 1874 and is in fonction since then.
Feeling like visiting history? Let's dive in.
PSM is located in the Far East of wedding neighborhood. It is a part of a block that is dedicated to alcohol. Indeed the companies allowed to make anything on that plot of land must work with alcoholic beverages and work towards its improvements.
This is why the Versuchs- und Lehranstalt für Spiritusfabrikation has its headquarters as well as a brewery school and the PSM. The PSM is a working spirits manufacture and a school for master distillers to be. PSM is not allowed to make profit but must sustain itself which they do through collaborations. They developed a series of fruit brandies and liqueurs for the sans souci castle, a gin and a vodka for the friedrichhain based michelberger hotel, or gin for Adler and also a Korn. Spiritsfully already mentioned that korn as we indeed interviewed the mastermind behind it in 2017.
the history of the manufacture
In 1874, a Prussian cabinet order decided to establish the "Research and Training Institute for Alcohol Manufacture" and entrusted it to the chemist Prof. Max Delbrück for construction and management. The adjoining training building not only serves to train young distillers and distiller trainees throughout Germany, but also functions as a test liqueur factory.
Under the name "Adler Spirituosen" , liqueur and drinking spirits production reached its peak around 1900, but came to an abrupt end due to the two world wars and the economic depression in between. Only in the 1950s can operations be resumed under the direction of the well-known master distiller Ernst Dobislaw. However, without the state spirits monopoly granted to date, the PSM can no longer build on its earlier successes.
In 2005, Ulf Stahl and Gerald Schroff relaunched the traditional "Adler" brand and finally take over the manufactory completely in 2009.
(Own translation from their website)
For anyone interested in distillation PSM is a hidden gem. For anyone interested in the secrets of berlin, too.
The visit started in a room that looked like a school room of the 19 century meeting a old science lab. And old chalk board. A library of botanicals and spices. Raw ingredients, distillates, macerates. Mysterious balsams (who has ever heard of tulsum basalm?). Small scale still apparatus.
This is where the master distiller exam takes place.
After this magical room come the room of stills and more. Magical because this is not so often that one can see old stills one next to each other, both hand-made and in-house made. Nothing fancy or unnecessary chic. Those stills are made to work and not to impress, they are not part of a marketing plan for which distillery tours belong to the daily life of a distillery. They are solid and show the diversity of tools at the disposal of distillers.
There are a pot still, a continuous still and a vacuum still. I would love to see this place in action.
All around spread out in the room many old clay vessels stand with distillates ageing or maceration happening.
Or a sugar cooker.
Or a very interesting tool to filter any spirits quite a few times.
I had never seen such a filtering machine. The layers are actually cotton and metallic place. The vodka can go through and the metallic plates prevents the fiber of cotton to end up in the final beverage.
Or another museum tool with a collection of macerates. There are not museum tools but active distillation tools obviously but it is hard not to think about a sculpture...
Or a bottling station from the 70s.
Don’t you think it worth a visit ? All info about the manufacture HERE
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