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New Mackmyra Distillery - A bigger Mac

By Dominic Roskrow

The distillery, set up some years ago by a group of Scotch whisky-loving friends, has operated of an old mill in a rural part of Sweden about 90 minutes from Stockholm.

Sweden has a state-controlled spirits distribution and new Mackmyra releases have to be sold through approved liquor outlets. But such is the distillery's reputation that queues regularly form outside shops on the day of a new malt's release, and many bottlings sell out in hours.

We have worked hard for the environment by reusing energy

For this reason - and in common with many new world whiskies - only a limited amount of Mackmyra is exported. The new facilities, officially opened in late December, mean that Mackmyra is able to increase production and take the next step up the ladder to worldwide success.

" The investment for the distillery is aprox 35 MSEK," says marketing manager Lars Lindberger.

"The construction started in November 2010, so it took us just over one year to build it. We have worked quite hard to make it environmentally friendly by reusing energy in all possible places. We use bio-fuel for heating. And it is built to use gravity, we lift water, malt and yeast only once and it will "fall" downwards during the process. To our knowledge it is the only distillery today that uses this technique.

"We call the new area Mackmyra Whisky Village (it's a couple of kilometres from Mackmyra Bruk and the other distillery). In the whisky village we also has built a warehouse for our customers 30-litre casks. Today there are 2500 barrels stored in that warehouse."

The new distillery is in Mackmyra Whisky Village just outside Gavle, about one and a half hours from Arlanda Airport. It will allow the company to quadruple output to a staggering 1.2 million litres - proof of the company's incredible decade long rise and rise.

"2011 ha been a great year, with a lot happening," says Lindberger.." The new distillery and the whisky village has been the biggest thing, but also the financing for the coming years is in place. And we have started to reach out better outside of Sweden and Scandinavia. Since April last year our colleague Jonathan Luks has been based in New York, and you can now find our whisky (The 1st Edition) in 25 stores and 20 restaurants in Manhattan. Next year we'll work from there. We've also visited China and Taiwan four times and have been met with great interest.

We're also working to get better coeverage in the UK, France and Spain. Right now I think we are 54 employees, so we're getting bigger. "Our main releases this year were Special:06 - summer meadow and Special:07 - Hope, from the limited Special series. We've also released four bottlings from the even more limited Moment series (Drivved, Jord, Norrsken, Rimfrost). And we've released our new make under the name Vit Hund (White Dog). In Sweden we are still the best selling malt whisky in the premium and super premium segment.

A big year then, so what's next for Mackmyra?

"Next is to trim the new distillery and produce as much as we can," says Lindberger. " it will take a while before we can sell it. And during that time International expansion will be important. The response we have had so far tells us that our Swedish whisky has a bright future in the world of whisky."

Random Irrelevant Fact

If Mackmyra produces 1.2 million litres just for malt whisky, and say 90 per cent of Scottish malt goes in top blends, and if Glenfiddich and Roseisle are the biggest producers with 10 million litres, then doesn't that mean that only one million litres is for single malt - less than Mackmyra makes. So doesn't than make Mackmyra one of the biggest suppliers of single malt whisky in the world?