It all started in 1867, when Franz-Xaver Dettling established a trading company in Brunnen on Lake Lucerne, specialising in Italian wines, and at the same time a distilling plant for the plentiful mountain cherries of the region. Since that time, the distillery has operated in the same location. It is the only distillery world-wide to exclusively use cherry fruit to produce all their Kirsch brandies. This practice accounts for the rich and intense aroma that Dettling Kirsch is valued for by connoisseurs the world over.
Products include Réserve, Supérieur Vieux, Bio-Kirsch, Cuvée, vintage Kirsch and many more, sure to meet the most discerning palates. As I sample the delicious cherry liquor I’m impressed by the wonderfully strong cherry flavor, not overly sweet. Velvety red in an elegant, tall bottle with the Dettling seal, it is a drink I could definitely take to.
Handcrafted in twenty steps
To this day, everything is crafted by hand at the distillery. Processing, bottling, applying the protective Dettling coating seal, labelling. “Every single bottle is taken into hand twenty times from start to finish. It is a labour of love throughout the entire process and we are proud of it,” says Ernst Beeler with a deep smile.
As he shows me the rock cave, what sounds like a speed train thunders across the roof of the cave. In response to my astonished upward look the distiller laughs and confirms that every train bound for the Gotthard tunnel speeds overtop of the distillery.
The family business Dettling Kirsch joined forces with German Underberg, the digestif bitter producer, a few years ago. “It’s a happy marriage and opened up more markets for us,” elaborates Ernst Beeler and adds, “we run completely independently here in Brunnen.” And so they should, judging by the countless awards the brand continues to take home every year.
If you’re in the area, visit the direct-sales store which is part of the distillery. You’ll have a good chance of meeting Ernst Beeler personally. You can also visit the Dettling Kirsch Visitors’ Center located on Kirschstrasse in Brunnen directly on Lake Lucerne. The hour long discovery tour provides interesting insights into the art and craft of Kirsch making and might just make a Kirsch lover out of you!