In March, the spirits hall will once again be the first port of call for many visitors to ProWein. Producers and suppliers invite you to find out about their spirits, liqueurs or brandies at their stands. If you’re looking for the best spirits, you’re guaranteed to find them here! Trade visitors have the opportunity to ask any questions about the production and special preparation methods used. With over 300 exhibitors, the spirits area has achieved real expert status and offers international dialogue on schnapps, vodka, whisky and the like. Enjoy high-quality spirits from all over the world.
ProWein attracts with a wide range of spirits, enjoyable experiences, types of production as well as producers and suppliers. Discover the best spirits from all over the world or keep an eye out for the latest trends, such as a good brandy like Armagnac or a cognac from France – at the live tasting you can spontaneously direct whatever ideas spring to mind at specialists who may have one or two insider tips for that extraordinary taste sensation.
Brandy, which has been around since the 12th century, is presented to the trade public in all its different national varieties.
Although many connoisseurs swear only by the “original” from Scotland, there are now outstanding whiskies in many other countries as well. At ProWein, you will find a selection of fine whiskies from professionals and newcomers, which will even surprise connoisseurs! For advanced aficionados, long storage is crucial for the multifaceted variety of flavours, so all whisky lovers are cordially invited to taste the unique flavours of the more complex characters. Gin, a classic among spirit drinks, is currently making a comeback and becoming a real trend as one thing is clear: gin is not just very versatile – there is now a whole range of different styles and flavours in the gin world – but many start-ups are also getting into gin production. When it comes to making gin, there is no limit to the developers’ creativity because the possibilities of adding different aromas to the gin are virtually endless due to the variety of plants. Immerse yourself in a world of fragrances and tastes at ProWein.
Award winners combine their knowledge with years of experience in various distillation processes to produce the very best pure and crystal clear vodkas in the world. The most successful but also newcomers with the courage to produce new flavour varieties, distilleries and the purest spirits are also represented at ProWein this year.
Schnapps in the form of Korn, Doppelkorn, Kornbrand – the production of schnapps has a long tradition and contributes to pure enjoyment, the most renowned and experienced schnapps producers bring their best bottles with them for you to taste.
Liqueurs, fruit brandies and other spirits: sweet variety is offered by the liqueurs category, supplemented by fruit brandies and grape marc spirits, which are distilled from fermented fruits.
Several international spirit brands for rum and tequila are represented at ProWein. Tequila is a special spirit from Mexico. It is extracted from the agave plant. Each variety has its own distinctive flavour, ranging from fresh and fruity to complex and woody. In addition to tequila, other exotic spirits such as Asian arrack and Greek ouzo complete the range of international spirits on offer at ProWein. The name of the game for more and more spirits producers is: organic spirits made from natural raw materials as a sustainable alternative.
Spirits from Germany
The production of spirits has a long and varied tradition in Germany and there is a wide range of different varieties, including whisky, fruit brandies and herbal liqueurs.
Although Germany was not one of the whisky icons for a long time, it has come along in leaps and bounds over the last 10-15 years! Whisky production has become very important, for example, in northern Germany.
In Schleswig-Holstein in particular, family-run distilleries produce high-quality single malts and other whiskies, which mature in oak barrels until they develop their distinctive aroma.
Fruit brandies involve a lot of skilful craftsmanship – at ProWein you can explore how fruit ends up in your glass as a fine spirit and try one or two for sure! Fruit brandies have a long tradition in Germany, primarily in southern Germany, and especially in the Black Forest and Bavaria, where fruit brandy is produced from a number of fruits, such as apples, pears, cherries and plums. These distilleries, including some microdistilleries, which have often been family-owned for generations, are characterised by a high level of skilled craftsmanship. After distillation, distillers usually store the brandies for several months to years with an alcohol content of 70 to 80 per cent by volume to develop the strong flavours.
Germany is also known for its herbal liqueurs. Probably the best known of these is Jägermeister, which is produced in Lower Saxony. But smaller brands and regional specialities are also well established among the German spirits.
One traditional German drink is schnapps. This clear spirit is mainly made from grain, is testament to great craftsmanship and has a history that dates back to the Middle Ages. Established schnapps distilleries who produce modern and first-class products in top quality, some even organic, are represented at ProWein. Among them are both traditional distilleries as well as innovative craft spirit producers. Besides established spirits producers, there is a growing number of amateur distillers and microdistilleries experimenting with new flavours and techniques and therefore contributing to the variety and creativity of the German spirits industry and who are in the meantime internationally popular and recognised brands in the production of spirits.
Production of spirits and schnapps
The production of spirits and liqueurs is subject to certain rules laid down in the European Union’s regulation on spirit drinks. The process begins with alcoholic fermentation, which occurs throughout nature when sugary raw materials come into contact with yeast. The alcohol is then heated in a still, which separates it from the water. The resulting raw spirit or distillate contains about 25 to 30% alcohol by volume. For some types of whisky, this process is repeated two or three times in consecutive stills.
The main production process stages are as follows:
The starting material for the production of spirits are raw materials containing sugar, such as fruits, or starch, for example potatoes or grains, or alcohol, such as wine.
Malting/fermentation: The raw material is malted or pressed to extract mash or juice. It is then fermented by yeast, a biochemical process that converts sugar into alcohol.
Distillation: The remaining mash ingredients are separated in the still, the water is separated from the alcohol by evaporation. After the first step, the alcohol still tastes pretty rough and unpleasant. Fusel oils and low-volatile alcohols are removed for refined distillates. After rectification, the third distillation stage, it can have an alcohol by volume of up to 90% alcohol.
Maturation: The distillate is stored in barrels, which are toasted from the inside, giving the alcohol a special flavour and slightly brown colour. The barrels are crucial for the smell, aroma, and colour of the schnapps. Maturation can take a few months to several years depending on the spirit. The degree of maturity is influenced by the distiller during production, so the producer can create distinctive products.
Filtration and dilution: In most cases, the aim is a final product that looks pure. Filtration is therefore important to also avoid any cloudiness in the bottle later on.
Bottling is one of the last stages before the bottle comes onto the market and can be drunk. The bottle’s shape and design are the company’s calling card! There are different methods for bottling. Small amounts can be bottled by hand, using a glass carboy, a pourer or filling bottle, where every bottle is filled individually and precisely. Bottling is much faster and more precise using a vacuum filler, which automatically adjusts the exact filling level and sucks it from the glass carboy.
The production process can be very different for spirits, every producer is creative and works based on their own experience or experiments with different methods. That is why the world of spirits has such an incredible diversity of flavours and aromas. The taste and colour can vary due to the length of storage alone, and there are many other possibilities to ensure that spirits stand out from the crowd.