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Interview with RYEKORN: How founder Benjamin Korn wants to make the new gin

by Yascha Roshani
RYEKORN Benjamin Krapp

With RYEKORN, Benjamin Krapp has not just launched a new grain on the market. Above all, he is committed to the versatility of grain in cocktails. On Instagram and in its own brochure, RYEKORN offers many well-known and new cocktail creations with Korn. These include the Korn Basil Smash, Korn Tonic and the KORNichiwa. By opting for rye, Benjamin also wanted to create a much milder and more aromatic Korn that can also be enjoyed on its own. In the interview, Benjamin tells us whether Korn has to stand up to gin at all. We have also linked the cocktail recipes for you directly in the text.

You can buy RYEKORN online here

How did you come to the decision to found RYEKORN?

At some point, I started to wonder why everyone was suddenly drinking gin. Sure, gin is great! But with Korn, we have a much more traditional and, above all, more versatile spirit in Germany. Unfortunately, it suffers a little from its image and is therefore not necessarily perceived as "cool". In terms of its usability in cocktails and long drinks, however, it is in no way inferior to gin. And unlike gin, it can also be enjoyed neat. This motivated me to found RYEKORN - not only to bring a high-quality product onto the market, but also one that could perhaps make a small contribution to restoring the perception of grain that I believe it deserves.

About three years ago, everyone was talking about craft grain and it was hailed as the next craft spirit. Korn definitely has a much better standing now, but the hype hasn't really caught on yet. You've certainly looked at the range of grain spirits on offer recently. What does the market look like and what do you expect for the future in terms of grain?

There are a lot of great grains on the market now. This concerns the production processes - many are handmade, for example - as well as nuances in taste, packaging, creative ideas in marketing and much more. As consumer preferences are less and less limited to gin and are becoming more diverse in favor of other spirits - not just grain, but also grain - I expect not only that these suppliers will prevail, but also that others will emerge. The market for high-quality grain spirits will therefore continue to grow.

The vast majority of grain brandies are based on wheat. What is the advantage of rye over wheat?

The rye makes it much milder, which also makes RYEKORN accessible to people who were previously put off by grain, for example because it wasn't "enjoyable" enough or too strong.

The gin craze is still going strong. Will it be a challenge to assert yourself with a grain over gin? Or is that precisely the advantage of not making gin and being able to offer something completely different?

I don't see it as either/or. In other words, grain or RYEKORN doesn't necessarily have to prevail over gin, but can find an equal place alongside it in the consumption habits of people who like high-quality spirits. What is actually advantageous in this respect, however, is that these consumption habits are becoming much broader. The gin craze is still going strong, and it should. Instead of (just) gin, however, people are now also reaching for a good whiskey, a good rum or even a good grain.

You are committed to grain cocktails. Your KORNBOTSCHAFTEN booklet, which you give to your customers, includes Korn Tonic, Korn Basil Smash, Korn Mule and Planters Korn. Sounds delicious. Are well-known cocktails one of the ways to convince more people to try Korn?

The good thing is that all cocktails and long drinks that work with gin or vodka also work very well with Korn. Unfortunately, almost nobody knows that. In this respect, completely new and original drinks such as the YouKORN or the KORNichiwa are certainly a good way to make people curious about Korn and RYEKORN. But reviving tried-and-tested cocktails with Korn as an ingredient can also certainly help to convince people of the benefits of Korn.

If our readers had to choose a cocktail, what would it be? Where does the RYEKORN come into its own?

The KORN Basil Smash is great and, above all, it comes from Hamburg - just like RYEKORN.

And how do you drink your rye schnapps? Pure, on ice or as a cocktail?

If I have a little time, I like to try the various RYEKORN cocktails, otherwise I like the Korn Tonic. It's quick and in no way inferior to a gin and tonic.

Fancy a taste of YouKORN? Then you can buy RYEKORN here.

Author's recommendation: Other delicious Korn cocktails include Planters Korn, Korn Sour and the KORN-IKAZE

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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.