Spirits accelerator Distill Ventures decided last December to make a DKK 100m+ investment to finance significant growth for the Danish whisky distillery Stauning in Ringkøbing Skjern Municipality.
“It’s a dream come true.” So says Alex Højrup Munch, co-founder of Stauning Whisky, after the announcement today that they have secured an investment of over DKK100m (£10 million) in the Danish distillery.
The investment is coming from Distill Ventures, an accelerator for spirits brands backed and funded by Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business, and sees the maker of whiskies such as Talisker, Lagavulin, Oban and Caol Ila become a minority shareholder in Stauning Whisky, with the nine founders retaining control of the business and continuing to run it as an independent Danish distillery.
“I have to pinch myself!. It is only 10 years ago that we started doing the first experiments with quality Danish whisky at Stauning. And now we suddenly get the opportunity to tell our story worldwide and let more people taste our unique whisky. We are obviously incredibly proud of the confidence that this investment shows in us and our whisky” says Alex Højrup Munch.
Ten years ago nine guys in the back of an old butcher’s shop stirred their very first mash in a 15 liter pot, getting ready to experiment with distilling in a 400 liter wash still and a 200 liter spirit still. One experiment led to another and soon their new hobby became a small distillery with one of them becoming employed full time.
Recently the distillery has slowly expanded, and today it employs five at the distillery, making approx. 15.000 liters of Stauning Whisky every year. “At Stauning Whisky we do every part of the process ourselves, at the distillery – from floor malting to bottling, design, and everything in between. We use Danish ingredients for our whisky, with most of the rye and barley grown in the fields around us, and even the peat for our peated single malt is from Denmark, giving it a unique taste. Besides single malt, we are also making a malted Rye that has been very well received around the world. Distilling our malted rye in our very small direct fired pot stills definitely gives it a lot of oily and fruity intensity, and makes it stand out compared to other rye whiskies,” says Munch.
Now Stauning has been given the chance to take the dream of the founders to the next level, and make its whisky available around the world. “We are proud to announce that after looking at many new distilleries around the world, Distill Ventures was impressed with our whisky, brand and story; actually so impressed that they have made an investment. We, the founders, are still the main shareholders, so we are still very much in charge of Stauning Whisky and can keep our focus on making handmade Danish whisky of the highest possible quality. We are just going to make more of it, and the investment will allow us to expand our production significantly. We will keep every process in-house using the same local Danish ingredients,” says Munch.
Munch added: “We cannot wait to get started on building our new distillery which will stay true to how we make whisky today: using local barley and rye, doing all our own malting in house, using small stills and direct heat. Imagine the still house with more than 20 small potstills. It is going to be beautiful. We don’t know of another distillery of this size which does all of its own malting in house – doing it at a bigger scale has involved much planning and many experiments, until we were satisfied we can make exactly the same whisky as we do today.” The plan is to expand the distillery to a capacity of about 50 times the production of today. This will make it a similar size to the Scottish distillery of Oban. The construction is due to begin this autumn and the first distilling will take place in 2018. In the meantime Stauning will keep distilling in its current buildings.
2014 World Whisky Awards
2014 World Whisky Awards
Best European Rye 7 years and under.
2013 International Review of Spirits Award: Platinum Medal (96 points)
Stauning Young Rye
The Whisky Bible Liquid Gold Award
2015: Stauning Peated 3rd Edition
2014: Stauning Young Rye
2014: Stauning Peated 2nd Edition
2013: Stauning Peated 1st Edition
Danish Whisky Distillery Expanding, source: Stauning Whisky