Four young distillers from Lohr am Main use ingredients exclusively sourced from native woods for their award-winning “Snow White Gin”. A success story featuring Snow White, seven dwarves, pine needles and soft spring water
The makers from "Snow White" gin
All is calm. Absolute silence in a beautiful setting of deep forests, crystal-clear streams and gentle hills. A pleasant, resinous scent of Douglas fir fills the air. Every now and then there is a small rustling noise. Occasional voices can be heard. A group of people is walking through the forest in Lohr am Main in Spessart.
They are collecting pine needles, checking them, smelling them, picking them. These are four young men – Markus Skrobanek, Jonas Völker, Fabian Kreser and Stefan Blum – together with their guests. They are collecting ingredients from the forest for their award-winning gin – “Snow White”.
"Snow white is the hallmark of our homeland of Spessart“
Snow White as godmother
This well-known fairy-tale character is not just on the label of their distillery products, but is also indirectly reflected in the flavour. “We named our gin after Snow White because the fairy-tale character is the hallmark of our homeland of Spessart,” explains Markus Skrobanek.
“Since we set out to produce a native product, it was obvious to us that we wanted to name it after our homeland.” For their gin the four only use regional products: Spring water and needles from the Douglas firs in the forest as well as apples from their parents’ orchards. As a result each glass contains pure Spessart nature.
However, the gin does not just taste of the homeland, but also illustrates its provenance on the label. One look at the fairy-tale mirror on the bottle shows the seven dwarfs at work. “They are collecting the ingredients for Snow White’s beauty drink in the forest.
On the way to the distillery, they are watched by the animals of the forest. The story is framed by decorations created by my father for a handrail in the family home,” comments Markus Skrobanek.
A Bavarian tradition brings nationwide success
In the Bavarian town of Lohr am Main, distilling is a long-held tradition. Certain houses were once given distilling rights – including that of Fabian Kreser’s grandparents, who continued to produce fruit brandies until 2013.
When the distillery was due to close, their grandson knew what he had to do: “I didn’t want to see the distilling rights taken away so I took them over. I’ve been running the distillery ever since,” declares the young man.
But a good product needs a lot of time – time that the student wasn’t able to give alongside his studies. He asked his three friends for help. Since then they have been running the distillery as a foursome.
And they’ve been very successful: in 2018, they won the silver medal at the Craft Spirit Festival – the most important trade fair for home-made spirits – for their “Snow White” gin.
Distilling gin – with a love for the homeland
For these young men it’s about far more than commercial success. They hearts are wedded to their homeland, nature and the preservation of a highly valued tradition. The forests of the Spessart region play a key role: they supply the ingredients to make the gin and the wood to heat it.
Above all, however, they are a wonderful recreational area, says a passionate Jonas Volker: “We are especially captivated by the stillness we have here. The Spessart is a place of peace.”
This is appreciated by a great many locals and visitors: They walk through the Spessart, marvel at the imposing old trees and try to spot rare creatures like the lynx or the barbastelle bat. And it is precisely this moment that the four men try to capture in the flavour of their gin.
“Our gin should taste like a walk through the woods on a fresh summer morning,” states Markus Skrobanek. “Imagine the dew on the leaves and meadows – this is provided by the spring water and the tingle of the lemons.
The sweetness of the apples reflects the first rays of the sun. The scent of the forest is provided by the resinous note of the juniper berries and the pine needles.”
Welcome to Snow White’s fairy-tale forest
Stefan Blum, Fabian Kreser, Markus Skrobanek and Jonas Völker take their guests on a culinary and actual journey through the impressive forest of the Spessart. “They can help us with the apple harvest, fetch the water from the spring or pick and collect needles in the forest,” explains Fabian Kreser.
Together with their guests, the four young distillers ensure that an old Bavarian tradition is preserved. The use of regional ingredients from the forest plus the love and time that they dedicate to their spirit leads, according to Markus Skrobanek, to the production of “something a bit special”: A gin that tastes of the Spessart – to the delight of its visitors.
More information about the gin "Snow White" and gin recipes at snowwhitegin.de (only in German)
... from the four gin distillers
Lohr Spessart Museum
Worth a visit is the castle of Snow White, the Lohr Spessart Museum. There you will find everything about the fairytale figure. There are even city tours with Snow White herself. Here in Lohr there is also a big statue of the fairy tale figure.
The absolute non plus ultra is our annual Lohr Spessart festival week at the end of July. There are now bus companies that take guests from the surrounding federal states there. In the old town of Lohr, which dates back to the twelfth century, there are also spring or Rambourfestivals and there are also regular farmers’ markets.
Every Thursday we visit our old inns in Lohr and enjoy the typical Franconian cuisine. The pubs are well frequented, so it always tastes special. One attraction among the inns is the "Bayrische Schanz", the highest inn in the Spessart. The approach to the Waldschenke is very popular with motorcyclists because of the winding road. Hikers are also enthusiastic about the route. Carriage rides to the inn are also offered.
bayrische-schanz.de (only in German)
Hike to the Sohlhöhe viewpoint
The Spessart fascinates us again and again. Each time we are impressed by the old trees, the animals and the silence. Our favourite hike leads to the 531-metre-high Sohlhöhe viewpoint near Lohr am Main. There is a fantastic view over almost the entire Spessart region, and it's the best place for us to switch off after a twelve-hour day of burning.
www.main-spessart.de (only in German)