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An interview with Edeldestillerie Indlekofer: How gin affects small distillers and the everyday life of a distillery manager

by Yascha Roshani

Marco Indlekofer took over the family business in 2017 in the 4th generation. With gin, Marco now wants to appeal more to younger target groups and, of course, indirectly draw attention to their fruit brandies. In this interview, Marco tells us what his new everyday life as a distillery manager looks like and which tasks were not so much on his radar. He also talks about how the market for spirits has changed and how the gin trend is perceived by distillers in the Black Forest.

You can buy the gin here: WUTACH London Dry Gin

You can order the fruity dry gin with wild berries here: WUTACH Wildberry - Dry Gin

You took over the distillery in 2017. How does it feel to take over responsibility for the family business in the 4th generation?

First of all, it makes you a little proud to take over a business that has been around for generations. I remember very clearly looking over my grandfather's shoulder back then. On the other hand, you also quickly realize the responsibility and tasks involved, even if it's only a small business like ours.

To the Edeldestillerie Indlekofer store

Is it exactly as you imagined it would be so far?

Yes and no, I've known the processes and tasks since I was little because I grew up with them. What I slightly underestimated was the amount of time I spend in the office. This is now just as time-consuming as the manual work in the company itself. However, I have always had the goal of creating new products and expanding the range of fruit brandies with other types of spirits. We have already achieved this very well with our two gins and will continue to grow in the coming years with our whisky, which has already been distilled and stored.

Of course, the most important thing is to have fun at work - and I do.

What does the everyday life of a distillery manager look like?

My main job is still as an automation technician. This area of knowledge has helped me a lot with the distillery control system, for example, which I programmed myself and which is unique in Germany. Of course, working two jobs at the same time is only possible as long as my father is still 100% in the company and my family supports me as much as possible. Of course, it can also be very exhausting. Good planning is the be-all and end-all here. There are so many different activities involved in running a distillery, from tree care, mashing, distilling, storage, bottling, labeling to tastings, events, marketing and, as already mentioned, not forgetting the administrative work.

As winter approaches, for example, the focus is on tastings, while in summer it's more about the harvest and the distillation itself. So every day is different.

Gin hat die Edeldestillerie Indlekofer seit 2019 mit im Portfolio. Spezialisiert ist der Familienbetrieb auf Obstbrände
Gin has been part of the Indlekofer distillery's portfolio since 2019. The family business specializes in fruit brandies

You have been on the market for several decades. What has changed in the spirits market in recent years from your and your family's perspective?

Definitely the enjoyment of high-quality spirits. In the past, fruit brandies in particular were more of an everyday companion, whereby quality wasn't so important and people tended to look for something cheap. Nowadays, customers value high-quality products. The focus is back on enjoyment. Regionality is also playing a much greater role in purchasing decisions. Customers want to know where the product comes from and who is behind it.

You also took the step and launched your first gin in 2019 with WUTACH London Dry Gin. As a distillery, is it now unavoidable to release a gin?

I wouldn't say that. It's certainly not a must to release a gin. Even here in the Black Forest, in terms of the number of distilleries, it's only a small proportion of suppliers that have their own gin in their range. For me, the audience is the crucial point. Gin appeals to both young and older people. Around 80% of our fruit brandies are sold to people over 35. But we want to offer products that appeal to both young and old. Of course, our fruit brandies also benefit indirectly from the fact that many people become aware of us through our WUTACH gin.

Die Brennanlage der Edeldestillerie Indlekofer
The distillery at Edeldestillerie Indlekofer

Nevertheless, the number of small distillers in the Black Forest who also produce gin or whisky is growing. How is the gin trend perceived by distilleries in general?

I think this is also a generational issue. The older distillers are certainly not as open to new things as the younger ones. In my opinion, those who want to run the distillery safely in the future cannot completely ignore these trends. Nevertheless, we distillers in the Black Forest are known for our high-quality fruit brandies, such as Black Forest kirsch. This will and should continue to be the case for several decades to come, as our fruit brandies are certainly among the best in the world.

Is the trend towards high-quality spirits and gin in particular a benefit for the German distilling industry? Or are there also fears that classic brandies will perhaps be neglected as a result?

I don't think that the buying behavior of classic spirits has changed much as a result of the gin trend. Personally, I think it's more of a gain at the moment. There will always be trends. You either go with them or you don't. Every distiller has to decide for themselves. What bothers me a little are the many marketing gins that only want to make a quick buck. This is exactly where quality and taste fall by the wayside. But we can counteract this a little by keeping up with the trend. Precisely because a fruit brandy, unlike other distillates, is one of the most demanding to produce and distil, we should also bring our experience and quality to bear on new trends and thus take the wind out of the sails of marketing gins, for example, which do not sell on quality but only on advertising.

WUTACH London Dry Gin war der 1. Gin der Edeldestillerie Indlekofer - entwickelt unter dem neuen Brennereileiter Marco
WUTACH London Dry Gin was the first gin from the Indlekofer distillery - developed under the new distillery manager Marco

You recently launched WUTACH Wildberry Dry Gin. What is your idea behind it?

We wanted to add a fruity gin to our range as an alternative, but not a pink gin, of which there are already many on the market. They also don't necessarily have the best reputation, as they often taste very artificial, contain additives or are oversweetened. We opted for a Wildberry, which is not yet available on the market.

A nice side effect is the play of colors: with the addition of a tonic, the gin turns from dark purple to a bright red. We are already familiar with this from the many blue gins, but we have not yet found a comparable red one. What's more, everything in our gin is purely plant-based and contains no artificial additives or sugar.

WUTACH Wildberry Dry Gin basiert auf dem London Dry Gin
WUTACH Wildberry Dry Gin is based on London Dry Gin and has a natural sweet and fruity taste thanks to the addition of wild berries such as redcurrants, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries

What are your ideas and plans for the next few years? Will there be more gins, among other things?

I still have lots of ideas, including for other gins. We'll see which ones we'll implement in due course. At the moment, we want to wait and see how our new gin develops. Whisky is also a very big topic that we want to push ahead with. But we also have other great projects in the back of our minds. When I do something, I have to be 100% behind it and prefer to focus on quality rather than quantity.

That's why good things take time.

Fancy some gin from the Black Forest? You can find both gins from Edeldestillerie Indlekofer here.

Matching products to the article

WUTACH London Dry Gin
31,00 (€62,00 per l)
WUTACH Wildberry - Dry Gin
35,00 (€70,00 per l)

About the autor:

Yascha Roshani

Yascha Roshani

Mitgründer von Honest & Rare

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Mich begeistern Getränke aller Art. Ob Bier, Gin, Weinbrand, Cold Brew Kaffee oder Limo. Vor allem liebe ich die Kultur, regionalen Bezüge und Herstellung von Getränken. Selbst braue ich ab und an Bier, setze Liköre an und röste Kaffee in der Pfanne.