Franziska Bischof is a fine brandy sommelière and “Female Distiller of the Year 2018”. In Wartmannsroth she runs Germany’s only distillery shop, and proves that her imagination goes well beyond naming her fine brandies
Brandy sommelière Franziska
“Franziska, the distiller” is written in curved letters on the modern, sandstone-coloured concrete building – Germany’s only distillery shop. Inside, Franziska Bischof fills up the shelves. With a few final touches, she arranges the bottles so that the names of the fine brandies are easy to read. Model Boy, Rebel, Scoundrel, Dreamer and Shaman feature on the labels in bright colours.
“One of my favourites is ‘The Poacher’, a rowanberry spirit”, says the distiller. It tastes earthy and nutty, almost manly, she adds. On the other hand, she associates something feminine with the quince brandy “Queen of Hearts” – because of its fruity, flowery taste. “These characteristics are how I choose the names for my products.”
"I often smell or taste something in my everyday life that fascinates me"
The Bischof family has continued the traditional craft of distillation for almost 100 years. Franziska Bischof decided to make her parents’ hobby her profession. Today, she is a state-approved distiller, a fine brandy sommelière and was named “Female Distiller of the Year” in 2018.
She still distils the fruit brandy just like her father did in the 1990s. At the same time, the distiller is adapting her range to modern drinking habits. She also makes gin, herbal liqueurs and a ginger spirit. “I often smell or taste something in my everyday life that fascinates me. Then I think about how I can capture this in something high-proof“, explains the fine brandy expert.
The everyday life of a distiller
The profession of small-scale distillers is closely linked to agriculture. “My days are always different, depending on what needs to be done and how the weather is playing along.” After harvesting, she mashes the fruit or grain. The smell that develops has alcoholic, but also sweet notes. During the actual distillation process, the whole room smells of the processed fruits, herbs or nuts.
It takes time before the fine brandies are bottled for sale. First the distillate is stored. Franziska Bischof then returns it to drinking strength and filters it. The whole process takes between one month and several years. For eight litres of 40 per cent pear brandy, the distiller needs over 100 kilograms of fruit.
The distillery shop – experience fine brandies
The distillery shop makes Franziska Bischof’s small distillery something very special. Like the other distilleries on the distillery trail, it invites you to stop and linger: Here, she not only sells her fine brandies, but also offers tastings, guided tours and seminars.
“I just love communicating my enthusiasm for my products and my craft to the guests.” In the modern building with large panoramic windows, the distillery owner makes her craft tangible and imparts useful knowledge. Her guests look over the hilly landscape of the Vorrhön and enjoy a drop of fine brandy.
Find out more about Franziska and her distillery diebrennerin.de
... from Franziska
Hiking on the Brenner path
The distillery trail with five different circular walks: the whisky loop, the wild fruit trail, the scattered fruit trail, the grain brandy tour and the forest brandy extra tour. The routes are all five to twelve kilometres long. Hikers will find theme-related information boards with knowledge about the brandies and their production, anecdotes and interesting facts. The distilleries invite you to stop by.
brennerweg.de (only in German)
Celebration at the Höflesfest
In the wine town of Hammelburg, the Höflesfest takes place in the middle of August. The old farms open their gates to guests, there is live music, good food and drink. Guests can be found strolling through the whole city at this time. Every year it is wonderful.
hammelburg.de (only in German)
Three restaurant tips
I recommend the Zum Landgraf restaurant and hotel around the corner from us. We also enjoy dining at the Weinhotel Müller in Hammelburg and the Gasthof Nöth in Morlesau. These are all family businesses that cook with fresh and regional ingredients.
zum-landgraf.de | frankenwein-mueller.de | hotel-noeth.de (only in German)