Story of Kyrö
Like half of the Finnish population, the story of this all-rye distillery was also conceived in a sauna.
A group of friends were having a sauna and drinking rye whisky, when they began to ponder why nobody was making rye whisky in Finland. Surprisingly, the idea of starting their own distillery still seemed like a good one the following morning and from there, the journey of Kyrö began.
The old dairy
In search for a home for the distillery, the founders first visited a family farm in Isokyrö, but although charming, it didn’t quite live up to their ambitious plans. Then on their way to a planning session (read: dinner and drinks), they noticed an old dairy that happened to be empty—or actually it was filled with cars as the old dairy workers had leased it as a garage to maintain the building.
It was time to do the first distillation: head distiller Kalle’s parents went for a vacation and part of their house was swiftly turned into a fermentation hall. In a week there was mushy distillers beer and a smell that would later become very familiar to all. The closest proper pot still was hundreds of kilometres away in Finland’s first craft whisky distillery in Beerhunters, Pori. They were kind enough to let us use their still for our first batch, provided that we transport it there ourselves.
From dreaming to daring
From new-make to pop-up bar
The end result was a clear liquid that smelled and tasted like moonshine. It was impossible to say whether it would make good rye whisky. To get feedback, Miika decided to smuggle a sample to The Whisky Show in London. He poured drams in the gents toilet for tasting and went from stand to stand. The new make gained praise.
It was time to make things happen. In 2014 the stills were heated up for the first time at the old dairy and the first drinks were served in “Tourism Agency of lsokyrö”, a pop-up speakeasy bar in Helsinki. It was always full of two customer groups: founders’ friends and confused elderly people.
Napue sold out
Once the first batch of whisky was quietly resting in barrels, the boys realised, it may be important to have something else to sell while waiting. So we made a gin. Turned out the gin was quite good. In 2015, when Miika was cycling in Estonia, he received a phone call saying
“We know nothing about your distillery, but your gin has been selected as the best gin for Gin & Tonic. We suggest you prepare before the award goes public.”
We prepared. And sold out in two days.
Today our distillery has grown from a wild dream to a craft powerhouse with skill and capacity — and pretty good spirits. Always made from 100% rye. It all started with rye whisky in the sauna and rye remains at the very core of Kyrö Distillery. It may be the hardest grain to distill due to its temperament, but we will still only ever use Finnish wholegrain rye in our products — be it whisky, gin or liqueur.
In time of global pandemic, we sell more hand sanitizer than gin. You never know what future brings. Best adventures are always ahead.