Updated: Jan 8
Everyone can probably remember having a spontaneous conversation over a meal, at the office, or even while standing in a bakery line, where the word "craft" has been casually mentioned or discussed at great lengths. Even though craft gin has only emerged in recent years, craft brewing has been making its mark and paving the way for the craft scene for more than a decade.
Nevertheless, recent years have transformed many breweries into craft distilleries, and have substituted beer for various sorts of craft spirits. While the US market was experimenting with different kinds of liquor, Europe was gripped by gin fever.
London dry gins, infused gins, sloe gins, navy strength gins, and other elixirs made out of juniper berries suddenly became the central topic of micro-distilleries across the old continent.
And despite several predictions regarding gin and it's momentum, most of the newly established artisanal distilleries, to this day, enter the marketplace with their version of handcrafted gin.
So, let us first gather some facts, shall we?
WHAT IS CRAFT GIN?
As a result of an ever-increasing demand for this handcrafted juniper spirit, well-established alcohol brands and gin clubs started to rebrand their classical spirits into "craft gins". So, in order to avoid making a mistake of ordering a very basic and overpriced liquor for your special gin collection, we have prepared a list, that will help you find "the real deal".
How to spot a real craft gin?
it is normally distilled in small batches,
it most likely include some sort of foraged local botanicals,
the product is made by a small team of very passionate craft distillers,
the brand name mentions some small pristine town of which you haven't heard before.
What counts as a small batch craft gin?
Most of the craft gin distillers across the globe would agree that smaller batches allow much more control during the distilling process. This enables that tiny particles within the distillation process are carefully removed from the batch, thus resulting in a more smooth and consistent flavor pallet of the newly created artisan spirits.
Therefore, we would recommend avoiding larger distilleries who claim that their 2000 liters stills are in line with the small-batch gin distilling standards. At Karakter Distillery, we use a column still twenty times smaller with a total capacity of just 100 liters per batch, to ensure that the finest aromas and flavors are captured within our small batch craft gins.
Handcrafted gin - What does from grain to glass mean?
Among artisan gin distillers, special status belongs to the ones who can accommodate the whole from grain to glass process within their distillery. This is why this process can be described as something like the "holy grail" for gin connoisseurs and craft gin lovers.
The process that starts with the specifically designed recipe, created and inspired by the master distiller's knowledge, usually goes through a lengthy procedure of ingredient selection.
From sourcing the grain to finding the right juniper berries, preparing a well-balanced mix of traditional botanicals, and finally discovering the perfect combination of pristine local herbs that will create a unique elixir of superior taste.
Only then is the time to run the stills, carefully monitor the distilling process and occasionally purify the blend until it's perfection. The spirit then goes through a diluting process and finishes its journey in a specially designed bottle which gives the final touch to the masterpiece called handcrafted gin.
Putting the pieces together
In your search after the true craft gin company, you will probably encounter several big players posing with something similar to artisanal distilling, and despite their large marketing budgets, the real value lies behind the smaller producers, who pour in their souls, long hours of research, a breath of local uniqueness and a large amount of passion.
At Karakter Distillery, located in Slovenia in the pristine lake town surrounded by the Julian Alps, we strive to procure and showcase the finest aromas of our region, pay respect to centuries-long crafting heritage, and create exciting drinks that will let you travel to the warmest places of your heart.
We believe that the secret behind spirits with true Karakter (yes, Karakter means character) lies within the strong connection to our local community and a childish-like curiosity to create and discover something special.
Read more about our handcrafted small batch gin here.
Learn about our craft distilling processes.
Find out who we are.