A great fire in 1853 destroyed much of the village of Saschiz as the houses were at that time of timber construction. However, the cellars which were traditionally made of brick or stone would have survived the fire and will be considerably older. The Kasper family would have started immediately rebuilding their houses on top of these cellars.
Our restoration of the front façade was undertaken in October 2015. After carefully removing the rough cast plaster applied in the seventies, we discovered the original colour and an inscription in German, drawings and hidden features dated 1888 when the reconstruction would have been completed. The words come from a poem written by Simon Dach (1605-1659):
„Geduld, Vernunft und Zeit macht möglich die Unmöglichkeit“
“Patience, wisdom and time makes possible the impossible”
We started our application to produce elderflower gin in November 2016 and at first progress in obtaining the licence for a micro-distillery was good. We were required to prepare the building and buy the necessary equipment. In September 2017 we had a temporary licence for one month to commission the equipment and produce samples for analysis. We were hopeful of getting into full production by October / November that year. However, the Romanian Customs agency then decided that they did not know enough about gin, as nobody else was producing it in Romania and our application was rejected. Many appeals later, we finally got our licence in March 2019 to produce a spirit drink from elderflower but labelling it as gin is a battle for another day!
Clearly the Kasper family motto is still applicable today and with the permission of the current generation, our new spirit drink was launched in early May under the “Kaspers” brand.
We established our social enterprise in 2010 with objectives of buying our raw materials (flowers, fruit and vegetables) from the community and we employ local people to produce our jams, chutney and cordials. Our production is based on traditional skills and the innovative use of local ingredients. A concentrated elderflower syrup provides by far our largest social impact involving approximately 1,500 people wild harvesting the flowers. Collecting more for distilling was a logical extension of our existing activities.
Gin is typically made from a grain-based spirit to which botanicals are added. Our innovative approach starts with the hand-picked elderflower which is fermented and double distilled. Ten botanicals are then added, seven of which are commonly used in gin and three are from the local biodiversity rich wildflower meadows. We then distil a third time to produce our unique drink that retains the refreshing floral notes of elderflower but now combined with the distinctive taste of gin from the juniper berries.
Home distilling fruit - based spirit drinks is still very much part of rural life in Transylvania. Our small batch distilling enterprise uses traditional equipment and skills passed down through generations, but we have added some modern science to make our unique spirit drinks from Transylvania.
We are the first micro-distillery in Romania to be licenced to make a spirit drink from elderflower and we believe the first in the world to obtain our alcohol from elderflower, whereas other elderflower gins on the market infuse grain-based spirit with the elderflower.