Made in Munich: The First Distillery Bar in Europe

Made in Munich: The First Distillery Bar in Europe

By  Thursday, 12.3.2015, 13:09    Cafes and Bars

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?  

Occamstraße 2
80802 München

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Paul Bradbury

After 12 years living on the most gorgeous island in the world, Hvar in Dalmatia, I have begun to wonder if there is still life beyond its shores. Prior to discovering Paradise in 2002, I was a world traveller, living and working in Japan, Georgia, Somalia, Rwanda, Russia... and Munich.

After 95 countries and some 25 years have passed, the memories of my year in the hotel industry in the Bavarian capital (fired by the Sheraton for losing our pet snake, the first male chambermaid at Hotel Arabella, and a truly eye-watering introduction to five-star living in  my days as a bellboy in luxury Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten) are strong, and the call of Munich has been a constant theme over the last quarter century. 

And so here I am, answering the call some 25 years later. Twelve years of island living have changed me for sure, but also left me curious about life in a big city, and whether or not I could adapt to it after such an insular decade. 

I was surprised to see that for such a magnificent multi-cultural city, English-language blogs and regularly updated information are not that available. Static tourism information, such as that provided by the excellent tourist board website yes, but accounts of daily life delivered daily? Hard to find.

And so I have decided to take a break from my idyllic island and see if I could live in a city again. And what better way to try than to discover modern Munich in all its facets after so many years. It is a journey of discovery which I am relishing, and I hope the site proves to be of interest for Munich residents and its numerous visitors.

About Paul Bradbury

Author of Lebanese Nuns Don't Ski, Lavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes and Hvar's first comprehensive guidebook, Hvar: An Insider's Guide to Croatia's Premier Island, as well as co-author of Split: An Insider's Guide with Mila Hvilshoj, I have lived in Dalmatia full time since 2003. In addition to running Total Munich, I also run Total Split (, Total Hvar ( and Total Inland Dalmatia (, as well as being an accredited Google News journalist for Digital Journal in Canada.

I also have various blogging clients, including the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, European Coastal Airlines, Touristar TV and Andro Tomic Wines, and print clients include Qatar Airways inflight magazine, Out! magazine from New York, and Croatian Hotspots. 

In December 2014 I was delighted to receive the Marko Polo 2014 Award from FIJET Croatia (Federation of International Travel Writers and Journalists)  at a ceremony for the Croatian Journalists Society for the best international tourism promotion of Croatia. More here.

Ongoing writing projects:

A History of Hajduk Split, co-author with Frane Grgurevic - in 2015

Around the World in 80 Disasters - out in 2015

Total Hvar in the Media:

Interview of the Month, Croatian Embassy in Washington (May 2013)

Special Feature in Globus Magazine (May 2013)

Featured on Croatian TV show, More (2012) - watch the report here

Interviews in Slobodna Dalmacija, Dalmacijanews, Radio Split

I am available for writing services. Please contact me on [email protected] or visit my main writing website, 

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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