The Craft Spirits distillery was founded in November of 2020 and made its first gin in March of 2021. Located in Kaptol, the heart of Slavonia, on the outskirts of Papuk Nature Park, the distillery has a goal of producing two types of gin – London Dry and Barrel Aged, and by promoting those products, to bring the beauty and tastes of Slavonia closer to people.
The basic ingredient for making gin is juniper, and ours comes from Slavonian forests. It is complemented by few ingredients specific to our region – black mulberry, elderflower and grape vine, and a special taste coming from the natural spring waters of Papuk.
The idea for a distillery was born and realized in full swing of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite steady jobs in digital marketing and legal affairs, we have decided to quit and embark on a private adventure. The only thing that tops our love for gin is our love for our hometown. Living in an apartment on a 14th story of a Zagreb skyscraper was replaced by living in a small municipality where people are awoken by singing birds, where people work their own land, where everyone knows and supports everyone, where skyscrapers are just toys for kids.
For aging our Barrel Aged gin, we use restored wooden barrels made from Slavonian oak, bought from local producers.
From the start, we have always cherished a strong local connection, and one of our connections is visible right through our visual identity, that is, our label. The label shape represents a stylized layout of the Old Town, a fortress dominating Kaptol. Stylized hexagon with characteristic four corners represents the fortress with towers, and the name of that shape of fortification is exactly “castrum”.
What catches the eye of most people is the round motive on our label, which also has a strong local story. During the Iron Age, aristocracy used to live above Kaptol. They were buried in large grave mounds – tumuli, and sometimes their warrior equipment and jewellery were buried with them. There are also few burials containing horse equipment, and on the archaeological locality Kaptol – Čemernica, a pair of horse reins was found that contained a faler, a motive we used as the logo for Castrum Gin. We decided to give it a bronze glow to remind of its iron heritage.
The count of Papuk is jealous that he hasn’t had the chance to try this gin in his time, made so close to his chambers, but he is also probably proud to have his horse’s ornament decorate this extraordinary gin.
We spent The First of May weekend tasting new gin in a small place underneath Papuk. Distillery is led by extraordinarily pleasant team with a movie-worthy story behind the whole project. Mihovil and Iva have brought the sole appearance of a bottle of spirit to a higher level. Great company, phenomenal gin, and a sunny Saturday you could only wish for.