We are extremely proud
that the Schladerer name has become
synonymous with high-quality fruit brandy from the Black Forest.
Each seal is attached individually and bears the Schladerer family coat of arms.
Although Schladerer fruit brandies are highly regarded and savored around the world, they are not by any means produced “industrially”. This quickly becomes clear to anyone who has ever set foot inside our distillery. Here, we still stand by the good old, artisanal handicraft techniques first employed 200 years ago – albeit on a slightly larger scale, which, of course, brings its own advantages. For example, when processing some varieties of fruit, such as mirabelle plums, we use a centrifuge that completely separates the pulp from the stalks and stones in order to obtain the purest possible fruit flavor. Small distilleries often lack the means to perform this technique.
Another complex method is the controlled cooling of the mash during the fermentation process. In the case of Williams Pears in particular, this helps us to preserve the delicate aromas throughout the fermentation and distillation stages. During the fermentation process, we convert the sugar in the fruit into alcohol. We are then ready to begin distillation. This involves using traditional methods to gently heat the mash – or macerate as it is known in fruit with a low sugar content – with steam and distill it in copper stills. Depending on requirements, we can add trays to our distillation columns in order to distill the distillate multiple times in a single operation. We decide on the number of trays needed on a case-by-case basis. The portions of distillate produced during distillation are known as the head, heart and tail. Only the heart is needed during the next stage in the process. It is down to the master distiller’s honed sense of taste and experience to decide how to separate the heart from the head and tail as well as to determine how many trays to add. We dispose of the distillation residue in an environmentally friendly manner by separating the solids from the liquid and composting them. We also sift out, dry and burn the pits energy efficiently or, in the case of cherries, use them to make cherry pit bags.
Aging in barrels
Special vintages are aged in ash barrels for a number of years.
The next stage demands a great deal of patience as it requires us to store the clear and pure distillates, which have an alcohol content of 65–75% ABV, for around two years in ventilated stainless steel tanks. This maturing process lasts even longer in the case of our specialties and rarities, which are stored in stoneware vessels or ash barrels that impart neither color nor taste to the fruit brandy. During the maturation period, which is essential for allowing the aromas to unfold, it is important that we protect the distillate from light, keep the temperature constant and expose it to sufficient oxygen to ensure a milder, smoother taste. Although some of the alcohol evaporates during this stage, this is a small price to pay for a high-quality product.
Once the distillate has fully matured, selected brandies are analyzed by independent specialists. Following repeated sensory tests, especially for our range of classics, we blend an optimum cuvée that guarantees the well-established, consistent taste of our fruit brandies. The brandies also undergo a process of cold filtration, during which we must appropriately regulate the temperature of the distillate to ensure that the flavors are not impaired. We then use extremely soft water from our own spring to lower the alcoholic strength (to between 38 and 50% ABV). Our fruit brandies are then finally ready to drink and can be filled into our famous Schladerer bottles.
We believe that exceptional products deserve equally exceptional packaging, which is why at Schladerer we place immense value on using high-quality materials. We source the thick glass used to make our bottles from the Ernstthal glass factory in Lauscha-Ernstthal. We seal the bottles’ precious contents with a cork and apply genuine sealing wax to add the perfect finishing touch.
To achieve outstanding quality, we analyze the distillate after the maturation process and perform repeated sensory tests.