Hello, my name is Ger Arts. I was born and raised in the south of Limburg, Netherlands. I have been interested in Ireland and Irish culture for years. During one of my travels through Ireland I visited a small-scale whiskey distillery, which piqued my interest. I decided to develop this further. This is why I now make whiskey inspired by the Irish tradition, in the hills of Limburg.
Alongside running Mwórveld Distillery, I am also the owner of ‘Preuve Van’, and I develop local products such as honey and wine from the Limburg Meuse-valley. In my spare time I like to go on hikes through the hills.
Thank you for your interest in Mwórveld Distillery. I would love to hear from you, so please do contact me with questions or remarks.
The distillery is based in the hamlet of Moorveld (municipality of Meerssen, Zuid-Limburg), specifically in Moorveldshof, a beautiful square farm which is a few hundred years old. Mwòrveld is the local dialect name for Moorveld. The location in which the distillery is based is an old monumental farmstead, which is currently being restored and made ready for occupation and craft workshops. The distillery is the first traditional company to open in the venue.
Schonen Steynweg 4a
6237 NA Moorveld-Meerssen
There are two ways to produce alcohol: fermentation and distillation.
Fermentation is done in the same way as making wine:
You sort the best fruits or grains, release the sugars present in them, and add yeast. Yeast feeds itself with the sugars and converts them into acohol and carbonic acid. You release the carbonic acid. What is left is the wine with a (relatively) low alcohol percentage.
The question is: can’t we just ferment until a high alcohol percentage is reached?
The problem is in the yeast. As stated above, yeast convert sugars in alcohol and carbonic acid. But the more the yeast converts, the less it has to eat. And at a certain level (which differs somewhat per type of yeast, but it is somewhere between 14% and 18% proof) alcohol becomes poisonous for yeast. So fermenting does not bring us any further than an alcohol percentage of about 18%.
To get a higher alcohol percentage, we have to distill: dividing two or more substances in a solution, through evaporation. This process is based on a difference in boiling points between alcohol and water (78.3 oC against 100oC).
The basic concept of distilling is therefore simple: making a stronger alcohol concentrate by physically dividing water and alcohol.
Alcohol made for consumption should be tasty.
Flavour (aromas) can originate in an alcoholic substance in three ways: from the fruit or the grain; during the making of wine; and during the maturing. When distilling alcoholic spirits the challenge is to maintain the aromas present in the liquid, and to subsequently enhance these for example by maturing the liquid in wooden vats. Of course it is also important to ensure the ‘wrong’ flavours do not enter the liquid.
The process of distlling is one of precision (of time and temperature), but also of smell, taste, and experience.
Disclaimer: Distilling alcohol at home is illegal in almost all EU countries, because the State will lose out on taxes. In the Netherlands you require a license for ownership of a still which can contain more than 1 litre.