The distillery today
The equipment used for distilling is made in Germany. The distillation kettle and fractionate column is made of copper, the cooler of stainless steel.
The basis of the mash is produced in the brewery. Depending on the product desired (Dutch (grain) gin, eau-de-bière or whisky) a separate grain mix is prepared in the brewery. Also the yeasting that is needed to obtain the alcohol takes place in this brewery.
The capacity per distillation session is 500 litres and given the high yield of the installation it is possible to obtain all our distilled products in a single distillation session.
The brewage is heated in the 500 litre distillation kettle. The alcohol/vapour are then separated in the fractional column until a pure alcohol of more than 90 percent flows out of the cooler. Today, the distillate is divided into 3 fractions, i.e. the head, the heart and the tail. Only the pure alcohol that contains many aromatic substances and esters will be used.
After the excise officials have determined the quantity and percentage of alcohol, the alcohol is diluted and filled on location.
The distillate for whisky is then stored for several years in oak casks.
The distillery in the old days
"... The copper kettle wall is heated gradually..."
The tradition lives on in the historic Wilderen distillery. You will be intrigued by the glorious history.
We closed our doors in 1939 but reopened them in 2011 to welcome all our visitors.
The distillery dating from 1890 fell within the excise zone that covered the so-called ‘agricultural distilleries’. Alcohol of 95 percent was distilled. This was sold to gin distilleries throughout Belgium.
In 1913, the distillery was extended with a huge rectification column so that a fine mash could be distilled.
In particular, the steam kettle catches the attention of visitors. This 40 hp steam engine is the sole example in Limburg of a steam engine with horizontal pistons. The steam generated was used for, among other things, heating the brewage. The steam engine was also used for generating electricity. It was even the intention to supply electricity to the village. Also the entire farm was provided with electricity but because the steam engine was not operating in the evening when people needed current, the electricity had to be stored in batteries.
The chimney is also a landmark in Wilderen. The technical installation is virtually fully conserved and forms a unique piece of European industrial heritage.
The raw material of the distillery was malted grain, mainly barley. The production unit consisted of a distillery, brewery & and malting.