A fews days after Destille Belrin closed its door of its 8th Edition, a short round of what we learned this year:
1. THE CRAFT SPIRITS CATEGORY IS WHERE INCREMENTAL AND MEANINGFUL INNOVATIONS TAKE PLACE. AND IT COMES FROM THE DISTILLERS, NOT FROM A MARKETING DEPARTMENT.
From Copenhagen based Empirical Spirits who won the outstanding innovation award, to Helsinki Distilling Co who presented new flavored vodka or Sasse Brennerei and its Cigar Special cuvee, it seems that craft spirits is where innovations happens, where new processes are being tried behind stills.
And it's heartening and happy because several fantastic projects will emerge in the coming months.
2. THE CRAFT SPIRITS CATEGORY IS WHERE A REAL BALANCE IS OPERATING BETWEEN THE RESPECT FOR TRADITION AND ITS SUBLIMATION
Craft spirits is a place of innovation but also the opportunity to magnify or rehabilate older products whose reputation. It's obvious with the Korn renaissance since a few year, but also in some niche products such as the sloe gin by Franz von Stauffenberg.
3. THE CRAFT SPIRITS CATEGORY IS WHERE YOUNGER AND OLDER GENERATIONS MEET
I love how the fair is multi faceted, from enthousiastic newbies with their first gin to older distilleries polishing their products such as Lorenz Humbel or Josef Farthofer, or Fridolin Baumgartner who won the award for the craft distillery of the year, and started his practice in 1983.....
4. LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WE ALSO LEARNED THATSUCH A FESTIVAL IS NOT ONLY A PLACE TO DISCOVER PRODUCTS BUT ALSO WHERE KNOWLEDGE IS PRODUCED
As some of you already know, as least those you read the previous post :-) Spiritsfully had the honour to organize the lectures and tastings of the program of the festival.
And it may sounds quite pretentious to celebrate a lectures and tasting programme that one's has curated. So let's make things straight: I am not celebrating the programme itself but how the speakers and guests and visitors made it worthwhile!
On Saturday the program was more or less divided (according to speaker's schedule, some compromises have to be made) into both exploring what the category of craft is or could be, while exploring the obsessions of the days, or what could become an obsession.
Sunday was dedicated to bartenders and craft cocktails as well in depth dive into some less know categories such as German whiskies, Rhum Agricole or Cognac (craft Cognac)!
DESTILLE BERLIN it is 22 events (talks or lectures or podium discussions and demos) over 2 days.
It is actually a lot, a lot more than most of what similar events offer, and most of all it is independently curated and organized.
There is no brand influencing the program, or buying slot to present its products. Of course you can't prevent a fantastic distiller to mention a product of his or hers, but it will never be the focus of his/her talk and this is an exception in our current landscape.
I'm grateful to all the speakers for respecting this rule and its spirit.
Transparency is essential to a field such as craft spirits. Transparency will also be one of the main topic of the month to come and next year's program actually.
WHAT IS CRAFT. DISCUSSIONS ABOUT A WORD.
NEW TECHNIQUES. NEW TRENDS. LEARNING. TASTING.
Thanks to Anna Warnow for the beautiful pictures !