Building a distillery in the arctic?

Read about how we built a modern distillery in Arctic Lyngen.

Choosing the spot...

Choosing the spot...

Choosing the spot...

In the process of deciding where we should put the Distillery, we considered several sites of interest. In spring 2014, one of the founders came up with the idea of establishing the combined Distillery/visitor centre at “Årøybukt” in Lyngen. This had previously been a NATO coastal fort during the Cold War, but was now on private hands. The owners found the idea interesting and AuroraSpirit arranged a workshop at the site in the autumn of 2014, at which the decision was made. The designated site is in beautiful surroundings near the fjord, with natural shelter and beautiful views of the majestic Lyngen Alps and the island of Årøya, which has an interesting cultural and military history.

Designing a combined distillery and visitor centre proved to be a very tedious and long endeavour. During all the various phases, we engaged consultants, architects, entrepreneurs, artists and people from the travel industry. Settling on solutions that would meet the legalities of processing alcohol and the wishes of the founders seemed a never-ending task. But with the combined competence of Leif Nerhammar, Econor Construction and Amundsen Architects, we finally came up with an interesting and viable solution.

Sketches...

Sketches...

Sketches...

Sketches...

Sketches...

Bunker plan...

Bunker plan...

Bunker plan...

Bunker plan...

The initial idea was to place the building on top of a NATO bunker, and have the distillery columns go through the roof. Although many sketches and pitches were drawn, we had to give up this idea mainly because of technical difficulties. However, the bunker will serve its purpose as storage for whisky casks.

We settled for a look and material combinations that makes the construction flexible in many ways. The materials are primarily wood based, with high degree of quality in all matters containing safety and comfort.

Flexible design...

Flexible design...

Flexible design...

Foundations...

Foundations...

Foundations...

Foundations...

In late autumn of 2015, we could finally put the shovel in the ground and start the process of making the foundations for our distillery. Luckily the autumn weather was cooperative, with relatively high temperatures and no major rain or snowfall.

After clearing the site of trees and bushes, the machines from Lundvoll made their way onto the site.

Building foundations in the Arctic is a task for Arctic people. In January, the builders had to endure extremely cold conditions. Some of the days the temperature was -15 ºC with wind, which often drove the wind-chill temperature down to -40 ºC!!!

These guys from Econor are made of steel, and we have the highest admiration of their efforts. They are real Arctic men, who are not opposed to take on a challenge.

Extreme cold...

Extreme cold...

Extreme cold...

Erecting the building...

Erecting the building...

Erecting the building...

Erecting the building...

Finally, the base construction came. It was a very nervous moment when the semitrailers carefully drove down to the site. But skilled drivers, huge studs and good winter conditions made it happen. All materials from Woodcon were delivered on the Monday and by the Thursday the whole factory was standing tall. Amazing technology!

Eventually, the column still arrived from Germany. The slippery roads meant we had to bring it to the distillery in parts, by a tractor. Handling these delicate and beautiful parts from Kothe destillationstechnik GmbH was an intense experience, but we managed to get everything inside safely.

The following week, we were visited by an engineer who helped us to raise the 7 m distillery. We sweated it out for two days, but the result was worth the effort.

Installing the still...

Installing the still...

Installing the still...

Installing the still...

Electrical installment..

Installing the visitor centre...

Plumbing in the tank room...

Windows in the visitor centre...

The last stretch of work took place during spring. Electrical installation was taken care of by Falkenberg El and Elektro-Sport. The guys took problem-solving matters to a new level. Building and installing a distillery from scratch is not a regular task in these parts of the world!

The same applied to the plumbers from Falkenbergs Rør ab, who had to look at installation through problem-solving eyes. The guys pressed hard to deliver premium installation. The results are very professional and we are proud to show visitors our production facilities.

The last (but not least) details are always more than expected. In the final months, we took care of waste, painting, grouting, clearing, cleaning and lots and lots of other stuff. We engaged a school class, local carpenters, plumbers and other volunteers to get ready for an Open Day on 18 June. The funny thing about set dates is that it forces you to get things completed.

The visitor centre was opened during autumn 2016, production started in september 2016. The grand official opening will be held during winter 2017.

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