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The Pilzer distillery was founded in 1957 by Bruno Pilzer’s father. It is situated in the Val di Cembra in the heart of Trentino (not far from Cesconi). The majority of the grapes used in the production of their grappe come from the Val di Cembra or Lavis so are distilled soon after the fermentation is complete. Pilzer looks out for the very best raw materials, saying ‘You cannot make a good grappa from poor grapes’. Another of Pilzer’s ‘secrets’ came from a visit to Scotland many years ago: “I saw that in the production of whisky, they dispensed with the ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ of the distillate, as these contained greater levels of unclean higher alcohols. Although this is not standard in the production of grappa, when we introduced it we found we produced a much cleaner grappa.” Each variety is distilled in a different way in order to retain as much of the character of the grape as possible. The grappe are then held in tank at a high alcohol level until just before bottling to keep them fresh.
The team at Pilzer have long felt the need to complete their portfolio outside of their well-know grappas. One of their stills had ceased to be used for production and was put on display for six months in the Jenever Museum in Hasselt in Belgium. During those trips, Bruno began to understand the world of jenever and its close relation to gin. This inspired Bruno to produce Ginpilz. Distillation of gin is very different from that of the grappa or fruit spirits Pilzer are used to. Learning by trial and error, they identified the perfect methods to extract and concentrate the precious and delicate aromas using a pot still in a water bath. tillate. Final dilution and filtration took place with great care, and the resulting 40% ABV proved to be just right.