During the Open de l’International, Bretagne Commerce International celebrated its 1000th Bretagne business member. Focus on Distillerie des Menhirs.
Distillerie des Menhirs (Plomelin, eleven employees) stands out for being original: it processes buckwheat and cider applies, both emblematic Bretagne productions, into a range of top-quality whiskies, spirits and ciders. For five generations the Distillerie des Menhirs, today run by the three Le Lay brothers, Erwan, Kevin and Loig, has been the inventor of the one and only whisky in the world made exclusively from buckwheat: EDDU. Firmly rooted in Bretagne, the Distillerie des Menhirs is one of those rare businesses to source its cereals locally.
Buckwheat, an emblematic cereal of Bretagne, was chosen by Distillerie des Menhirs for its unrivalled aromatic power. The different EDDU versions are created by the Cellar Master based on his rigour, experience and intuition.
Local, exceptional products
Guy le Lay created the first Pommeau de Bretagne. This is a blend of lambic (cider brandy) and apple must (apple juice coming out of the press).It has to age for nearly two years before being marketed. Over the years, the distillery has supplemented its range with ciders, lambigs and Gwenaval, an apple brandy produced from fresh cider. In 1999, the distillery created Eddu, a highly-original whisky as it is produced from the buckwheat of Bretagne. At the time, Eddu was a pioneer in the spirits market and is still the only whisky made exclusively from buckwheat in the world.
The distillery creates limited edition vintages to demonstrate its difference and quality. This summer, it launched a 2004 pure malt buckwheat whisky and a 15-year old Pommeau. These exceptional products are only available through the Plomelin shop.
This year Distillerie des Menhirs won an excellence award at the general agriculture competition in Paris for its pommeaux. This annual award honours winners who have obtained the best results over the last three years. It rewards the know-how of producers whose products frequently win awards. In three years, the SME has won two silver medals, one bronze and one gold and a total of 42 medals since its creation. It is also a regular prize-winner at the Paris Agriculture Show. In 2019, the old Pommeau was also awarded a gold medal. It is today recognised as one of the best in France.
Expansion in Bretagne and international development
Today, the directors are seeing a craze for whisky. “When we started, there were four or five producers in France. Now there are sixty-odd”. Distillerie des Menhirs sells the oldest whisky in France, the 15-year old Eddu Diamant. This involves one barrel a year. With 130,000 bottles marketed annually, the SME is one of a leading trio of French distilleries and has every intention of staying there. It has therefore invested in a new cellar capable of holding 1000 barrels. It has therefore doubled its storage capacity and it can use the space to age its whisky for longer and therefore add to its value as well as to work on innovations. The goal of increasing the stock is also to develop export sales, mainly to border countries such as Germany and Belgium and those further away, like Japan.
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