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Alfred Schladerer is a sixth generation distilling company run by Philipp Schladerer. Properly titled ‘Alte Schwarzwälder Hausbrennerei GmbH’, which translates as Alfred Schladerer Old Black Forest House Distillery Ltd, Schladerer is highly regarded internationally for the quality of its fruit brandies eaux-de-vie (unaged brandies distilled from fermented fruits).
Recognising this and the fact that Schladerer lies in the heart of Germany’s Baden-Württemberg region, in 2013 Sebastian Brack and Maximilian Wagner approached Alfred Schladerer to become the production partner in their new German vermouth brand, Belsazar. Philipp Schladerer not only contributed his expertise and facilities, but also and most crucially for the new vermouth brand, Schladerer fruit brandies are a vital component and distinguish Belsazar from other vermouths.
The Schladerer distillery lies in the town of Staufen – an idyllic place in the Upper Rhine lowlands, nestled between the Black Forest and the Vosges. It’s a small town with only around 8,000 inhabitants but has an important economic, cultural and historic significance for the region.
One 16th century resident of Staufen was Dr. Johann Georg Faust (c. 1480 - c. 1541), also known in English as John Faustus, the legendary alchemist, astrologer and magician whose life was retold in Christopher Marlowe's play The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (1604) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's drama Faust (1808).
The town of Staufen, and so the Schladerer distillery, lies within the south-western corner of Germany’s noted Baden-Württemberg wine region and it is from this region – particularly Markgräflerland and Kaiserstuhl that the high quality wines used to make Belsazar vermouth are sourced.
The Markgräflerland extends in the north to Freiburg and in the south to Basel and due to its exceptionally warm climate the region is often referred to as the ‘Tuscany of Germany’. The Markgräflerland offers excellent conditions for cultivating grapes, berries and fruits so fruit orchards and vineyards dot the landscape. The best orchards traverse the foothills which are sheltered by the Black Forest so creating the perfect conditions for high quality fruit cultivation.
Much of the fruit Schladerer distil to make their fruit brandies (eaux-de-vie) comes from the Baden-Württemberg region, as do all the botanicals used to flavour Belsazar vermouths.