The distillery of old
In the old Wilderen distillery, tradition lives on! Come and be fascinated by times past. In 2011, we have reopened the door that was closed in 1939...
In 1890, the distillery was classed as an ‘agricultural distillery’ for tax and duty purposes. Alcohol of 95° proof was distilled. This was sold to gin distilleries all over Belgium. In 1913, the alcohol distillery was expanded to incorporate a gigantic rectifier column so that a fine distillate could be produced on site.
That enormous boiler especially stands out. This 40 HP steam engine is the only example in Limburg of an engine with horizontal pistons. Among other things, the generated steam is used to heat the brew. The steam engine also generated electricity. There was even an intention to supply steam to the village as well. The entire farm was also provided with electric power, but because no distillation was done in the evening - precisely when lighting was required - the generated electricity had to be stored in batteries. The chimney is also a landmark in Wilderen.
The technical system has been almost completely preserved, and is thereby a unique piece of industrial heritage at the European level. The raw material for the distillery was malted grain; in this case, predominantly barley. The complex itself consisted of an alcohol distillery, a brewery and a malthouse.
The distillery now
The equipment for distilling was made in Germany. The kettle and the rectifying column are made of copper, and the cooler is made of stainless steel.
The basic material, or mash, is produced in the brewery. Depending on the desired product (gin, eau-de-bière or whisky), a separate grain mixture is prepared in the brewery. The fermentation, which is necessary to obtain alcohol, also takes place in the brewery.
The capacity per distillation run is 500 litres and, thanks to the high yield of the installation, it is possible to obtain all our distilled products in 1 distillation run.