Food and Drink, Lifestyle

The Monachus Distillery

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A small Croatian distillery that celebrates the landscapes of Istria.

Located in Croatia, at the tip of the Istria peninsula, Monachus is a small, independent  distillery that celebrates the coastal landscape. The two founders, Anja and Luka, left their careers in electrical engineering and conservation of monuments to move closer to the Adriatic sea and craft high-quality brandies and drinks with natural ingredients. First, they visited craft distilleries to learn the ropes. Then in 2019, they went to Japan to learn from one of the best, master distiller Hiroshi Eguchi. After traveling  to Hiroshi’s Mitosaya Botanical Distillery in Chiba Prefecture, Anja and Luka learned about foraging, herbs and fruits, distillation, maceration, and experimental cocktails. Back home in Croatia, they founded Monachus.

The distillery’s name references the endangered Mediterranean monk seal with the Latin name of Monachus Monachus. It’s a way to link the company to the setting and to also raise awareness about the critically endangered species. Following the same strong connection to nature, Stockholm-based design studio Bedow created the distillery’s visual identity and five custom labels. Every bottle features a hand-stamped logo of a seal tumbling into waves. Furthermore, the labels have five shapes that reference elements of the landscape: salt, stone, wind, waves, and pine cones.

The Monachus range includes gin and botanical distillates. Inspired by the protected landscape of Cape Kamenjak, the Monachus Gin features juniper, light citrus, floral, and smoky fig leaves notes. A coffee and anise distillate, Coretto draws inspiration from the Italian “caffe corretto”, an espresso mixed with anise-flavored liqueur. Other products include Calva with fermented Istrian apples; First Citrus that features organic mandarin oranges; and Late Summer made with musk melon as well as vanilla and brown sugar notes. Apart from foraging wild plants and using locally sourced fruit, the distillery also uses eco-friendly and plastic-free packaging. Photographs© Monachus Distillery and Bedow.

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