Distilling demands expertise and commitment. Years of experience are required to coax the right flavor notes from a range of produce, from apples to wheat. Though their methods may be rooted in tradition, many new distilleries are taking creative approaches when designing new facilities. The past decades have witnessed an explosion in demand for craft spirits that did not slow during the pandemic. In addition to production spaces, storage and tasting rooms are essential components of contemporary distillery plans. These five projects create an architecture that foregrounds the distilling process. Through functional architecture and industrial materials, these breweries highlight the essence of their respective spirits, from sake to schnapps.
When a creating new showroom for a brewery client in Trondheim, Bergersen Arkitekter AS returned an old farmhouse distillery to its original function. A tasting room and events hall is the center of the development, with a wooden framework based on traditional methods. As the supports are internal, a glass ribbon runs underneath the wooden roof giving it a light appearance in contrast with the large plaster chimney. The project is a collage of textures with glass and wood against the grey gravel and mossy rocks of the surrounding property.
Distillery Stählemühle by PHILLIPP MAINZER OFFICE FOR ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN, Eigeltingen, Germany
The area around Lake Constance in southwest Germany is renowned for its fruit schnapps. To take advantage of the local produce, Distillery Stählemühle revived the long-abandoned distillery of a historic estate. The simplicity of the design focuses attention on the process and products: in the tasting room, spirits are displayed in demijohns on two rows of shelves along both walls. In the next room over, space is filled with a small copper still that is the handiwork of the celebrated metalsmith Arnold Holstein.
Shiraito Sake Brewery is no newcomer to spirits. For over 160 years, the company has been utilizing rice from the fields around Mt. Sefuri to produce sake with the painstaking haneki-shibori method. To make sake this way, stones are used to weigh down a lever that presses the sake mash through a special filter. Expanding the facility entailed specific considerations to ensure the high quality of sake, including minimal exposure to sunlight. The new wing is entirely in concrete and capped with a black metal roof that matches the traditional tiles of the historic facility.
The goal for the Javornik Distillery was to harmoniously blend new construction within the historic fabric of the quiet hamlet of Javornice. While the farm boasted many outbuildings, few were in good condition. ADR worked from the footprint of the original buildings, renovating and reconstructing where possible. A copper still rises into the rafters within the distillery building, producing traditional spirits from the bountiful fruit orchards around the farm. There are also facilities for guests to stay in and a tasting room with a wide variety of Czech glassware.
After being awarded one of the highest honors in the spirits world, visitors flocked to Fukuchiyo Sake Brewery in the coastal town of Kashima. As a result, a new space was needed to allow the brewery to expand storage capacity and show the company’s products. However, as the property is listed as cultural heritage, no major exterior changes could be made. Instead, yHa architects added a room within a room in the center of the brewery’s historic rice mill. The new space is accessed by walking through a metal portal that spans a small creek like a drawbridge. The dark hue of the metal complements the shou sugi ban cedar cladding of the mill.
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