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Distillers & Spirit Producers:

Destilerias Xorigeur

Distillery

Xoriguer Ditillery (Destilerias Xoriguer), Port of Maó-Mahón, Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain.

History

Maó-Mahón (previously called Mahón) is the capital city of Menorca (also called Minorca), an island situated in the Mediterranean Sea, found some way off the coast of Barcelona, Spain. The port is one of the largest natural harbors in the world, and as such has always proved to be of great importance, from a naval and military perspective. For this reason it has often found itself occupied by the forces from other nations at one time or another including: Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Arabs, Byzantines, Moors and…the British.

During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701 – 1714) a joint force of Dutch and British captured Menorca from the Spanish in 1708. The British were quick to understand the importance of the port in Mahón for it’s navy and, under the Treaty of Utrecht, gained permanent control of Menorca in 1713. Now, a large British naval garrison stationed on the island requires a large quantity of alcohol to keep them happy – it was a part of their agreed daily pay and rations – not to mention the need to resupply other members of the Royal Navy as they passed by. So, with a Gin craze that was sweeping across England at that time, it meant a large amount of Gin had to be imported to Menorca. It didn’t take long for resident Menorcans to realize a business opportunity when they saw it, and many local distilleries arose to supply the sailors with Gin.

Among the locals to take advantage of the situation was the Pons family who owned a flour mill (powered by a windmill). They set up a distillery and used, with the exception of juniper berries that had to be imported, local ingredients to make Gin. This bustling and booming cottage industry continued, except for a short hiatus when France gained control of the island from 1756 to 1763, up until 1802. At this point in time, Under the Treaty of Amiens Menorca was returned back to Spanish control and, the British Navy departed resulting in the need for Gin production dropping significantly. Although a few distilleries managed to continue operating, many closed down, including the one run by the Pons family.

In 1945 Miquel Pons Justo decided, using the family Gin recipe that had been handed down through the generations, to reestablish the family distillery. Using his home he started making Gin in bulk (stored in trash cans or so we understand!) and before long moved into warehousing space near the harbor to meet growing market demand. By 1963, due to imposed regulations, the distillery changed to bottling their Gin using the recognizable containers as found today.

In 1981, the founder Miquel Pons Justo died, leaving the business to his three daughters. Since this time the company has bought out other distillers in the city, Petit in 1981 and Beltran in 1985, to become the only Gin distillery left operating in Mahón. Today they employ around 30 people and produce about half a million bottles per year, 60% for the local market in the Balearic Islands, with the remaining 40% going to Spain and other countries. Operating distillery tours and sampling from their huge range of flavored spirits, if you find yourself on the island it is worth visiting and enjoying Xorigeur Gin, the official drink of Menorca.

Website

Xorigeur and Xorigeur Gin.

Our Reviews Of Their Spirits

Gin

Xoriguer



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