whisky distilleries germany

The development of the German whisky bloom

A recent documentary by the DW follows the development of whisky in Germany, which is gradually increasing in popularity. Read our summary.

Whisky, although often associated with Scotland, Ireland or the United States, is also distilled in Germany. There are 200 whisky distilleries in Germany, surprisingly more than in Scotland. But these German distilleries produce in small quantities, representing 0.4% of the world market.


One of the oldest distilleries

One of the first German distilleries, comes from Michael Habbel, – who inherited it from Heinrich Habbel, founded in 1878 – a German whisky distiller. Habbel says he distilled his first whisky in 1977 using a normal still to make grain spirits. “This makes me one of the pioneers in the history of German whisky.” Habbel also says that whisky, being a grain spirit, resembles “korn”, a German drink. “If you store ordinary korn in a wooden barrel for three years, it can be sold as whiskey.”

At the time, Habbel could not distill real malt whisky because of the Spirits Monopoly Law. So he could only produce korn from grain with a maximum of 15% malt. Today, it is possible to make malt whisky as normal throughout Europe. The distillery also produces brandis, herbal liqueurs, and gin.

The daughter, Michaela Habbel, joined the family tradition in 2011, and runs the distillery with her father. Her job is to focus on product development in the spirits and gin sector and strategic planning. As well as managing barrels for whisky. “We use not only pure barley malt, but also rye or spelt from the region.” Michaela is also president of the German Whisky Distillers Association.

Habbel senior, confirms that the business is working very well. “The only problem is that we have little to sell.” It will take Habbel three to five years to sell several thousand bottles from one batch. “At the moment we only have batches of 800 to 1500 bottles and they always go very fast.”


Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.


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