Founded alongside a renowned cannon foundry in 1580, the Gripsholm distillery became a royal distillery under King Gustaf III in 1775. Today, it’s one of the oldest and most sustainable distilleries in the world. The distillery is run on wind and water power and even our by-products are recycled into bio-fuel. Our unique single-run distillation uses organic wheat grown by local farmers, and pristine spring water from our own well. And nothing else, ever.
Nearly a century ago, the area of Södermanland in Sweden was without so much as one distillery. To be fair, there were barely any distilleries in all of Europe (or the world for that matter) so no one really knew what they were missing. Instead the area, ruled by vikings and rich with iron was know for its production of swords, armor and tools.
Fast-forward three hundred years to the fateful time of 1580, when King Karl IX of Sweden founded Åkers Styckebruk to produce cannons for the Swedish army. Gone were the Vikings and now it was all about the Swedish state with official degrees, laws, and distilleries, the Gripsholm Distillery being one. This particular distillery supplied the people working day in and day out, building cannons and providing for their families in and around the village. The time of heavy machinery and polluting factories were hundreds of years away and everything was 100% organic. Pesticides and additives were mere science fiction. And science fiction hadn’t even been invented yet.
From Russia and America to Brazil and China, orders for the world famous cannons of Åkers Syckebruk came flying in at a dizzying pace. And with the increased orders came a necessity to increase production. What better way to award delivery speed and productivity than the locally sourced and produced vodka?
Coins, serving as vouchers, were offered to the workers who arrived on time and carried out their duties well. These coins in turn could be used for shots of vodka at a local bar. Thus, perpetuating the area’s love affair with vodka.
By 1775, King Gustaf III found himself in quite the tough position. The King had monopolized all alcohol production to fund his many wars and even borrowed money from Åkers Styckebruk’s owner Joachim Von Wahrendorff. In one of those, for us, fortunate moments in history, King Gustaf couldn’t pay back his debt and instead appointed Von Wahrendorff’s Gripsholm as a Royal Distillery. Working outside the limits of state regulation, Gripsholm became the largest distillery in Sweden, producing over a million liters a year and employing nearly 300 workers.
Fate continued to hand Gustaf a bad hand as the King was shot in 1792. With the King’s untimely departure followed Gripsholm’s Royal reprieve and for the next two hundred years, no one but the Swedish state could produce spirits. But with a new century, came a new era, all though steeped in the region’s history. In 2008, Gripsholm Distillery was rebuilt in Åkers Styckebruk, and Kanon Organic Vodka was reborn implementing the same process and using the same ingredients that were used centuries before. A rebirth worth toasting to.