One doesn't have to spend too much time in Munich to realise that this is a city of creativity and confidence.
This of course, is the hi-tech capital of Germany, the beer capital fo the world and the home of BMW.
But in an age where production is moving to China and other cheaper Asian labour markets, one thing really struck me in my first few days in the city: just how much quality stuff is produced in Munich itself, despite higher wage costs and labour laws.
It is an encouraging trend, and one I intend to explore in more detail in the coming months, and we will shortly be launching a section called Made in Munich, which will celebrate and showcase some of the city's more innovative producers away from BMW and the breweries.
And in a city of beer, what better place to start than with an entrepreneurial project to revive Munich's latent distilling industry, which despite never reaching the heights of the beer industry, does have a history in the city. And not only reviving distilling in Munich, but also opening the first distillers bar in Europe in the process!
I met with owner Konstantin v. Keyserlingk a few weeks ago to learn more about the project, and to sample some of his wares, which are all produced on site in the excellent Distillers Bar, a short walk from Münchner Freiheit U-Bahn station.
Here in the land of beer, Munich distillers were producing their very own vodka, rum and gin!
I was immediately struck by the concept of branding Munich and portraying it in a stylish way, for not only was the design of the range of Munich liquors well thought out and visually appealing, but there was also a small section in the bar, where other iconic souvenirs are for sale, including your very own lederhosen, which might look even more appealing after a few of the excellent local shots...
It was time to taste, and Konstantin very kindly brought out some of his range to have a sample. Having originally commissioned an expert distiller to come up with the recipes, the team now produce everything on site, with all ingredients locally sourced, apart from some obvious ones with the rum.
The team appear to be perfectionists, as they have not quite decided on the final formula for the gin. There will be a small batch distilled with various ingredients, which will then be sampled by the team. Getting the right gin to everyone's taste is a tough task indeed, but I really liked the concept of the gin and its branding.
It is called 1158, the year that Munich was founded, and it is 58% proof, and with 11 ingredients, including beer! Now that is quality branding.
And it slipped down rather well indeed...
The Distillers Bar serves both their own brands and a wide range of other liquors and cocktails, and with a hip design, the onsite distillery and that little shop, it is rather a cool place to hang out.
In keeping with the cool image, the face of Distillers Bar is none other that Munich acting legend Helmut Fischer and Monaco Franze. Still a legend today despite passing away in 1997, Fischer's wife gave permission for his image to be used at the bar, as she felt he would have approved of its cool Munich image.
I am sure he would! Why not check it out for yourself?