Lynn DeLean-Weber of Edelbrand Pure Distilling
It’s cold, it’s snowy so you warm your insides and out sitting around a fire with friends sipping vinars. Say what? Vinars is European-styled fruit brandy made right here in Missouri, and Edelbrand Pure Distilling is the tastemaker behind this beautiful spirit. Jocelyn and I have had the pleasure of enjoying a raclette dinner with Lynn and her husband Martin, owners of Edelbrand Pure Distilling, And in between sips, we found ourselves immersed in the heritage and culture of its Swiss distiller, Martin.
Edelbrand Pure Distilling specializes in handcrafting European-styled vinars, spirits perfect for lingering in the moment with friends and family.. Their small-batch distillery is located just outside of Marthasville, surrounded by the open pastures of their 20-acre farm. Only the finest apricots, cherries, plums, grapes, apples, and pears are used to created these
What products/services do you offer?
We offer six products crafted by hand, in limited quantities, using small copper pot stills…the largest being 18 gallons. Vinars da meila – apple brandy infused with plum. Vinars da péra – pear. Vinars da vin – grape infused with dill. Vinars tschereschas – cherry. Vinars da plogas – plum. Vinars d’apricosas – apricot.
What drew you to entrepreneurship, specifically this line of work?
I’ve been fortunate to have had a varied business background – from 14 years of corporate experience, to several start-ups, and numerous non-profit board experiences. Specific to Edelbrand, I was introduced to fruit brandies by Martin while traveling in Europe a number of years ago. The idea of bringing something special back home appealed to both of us – not just the spirit but the culture surrounding how they are served and enjoyed. These lovely spirits are traditionally offered as after-dinner drinks and digestifs after heavy meals. Martin and I believed we could create a handcrafted spirit that would rival the best Europe has to offer. At this stage in our lives, with our children grown and out on their own, we were drawn to the idea of creating something totally “ours” and sharing it with those interested in trying something completely unique.
Have you overcome any business flops? What was your struggle and how did you conquer it?
The first set of hurdles was getting fully licensed to distill – there are federal, state and local requirements to work through. The process requires you to have a turn-key operation before you apply, which means you have to make that investment up front, long before you can begin to produce and sell any product. All labels have to be approved, as do certain formulas. This can take months. And we are also held to every requirement and regulation that the big players are. There are not exceptions made just because adistillery is small. Our latest hurdle is trying bring our fourth still, an 18-gallon still, on line. Each still has its own personality and it takes time and a lot of patience to get them fully operational.
What do you do really well?
Edelbrand Pure Distilling is the smallest legal distillery in Missouri, if not the United States. You’ve heard the term ‘micro?’ Well, we are ‘nano.’ Our vinars is made from 100% fruit…there are no additives, chemicals or flavorings. The fruit aroma bursts out of each bottle when opened and lingers on the palate from start to finish. The flavor profile for each fruit brandy is unique, subtle and completely crafted by hand, one bottle at a time. We currently produce just under 1,000 bottles annually from fruit mashes laid down the year before. In 2018, we sold out of four out of our six products.
Do you have a favorite story about your business?
After two years of preparation, Edelbrand Pure Distilling launched its first product on November 1st, 2015. We sold out of our entire inventory that in just four days. Those first sales allowed us to purchase our second still – a 12-gallon. But honestly, the best part of what we do is the people we meet. We love introducing these spirits to folks. We love the collaborations that happen when other tastemakers work with us to create something completely new for their customers. It takes a village to launch a distillery and we are very fortunate to be a part of a thriving village.
What are your experiences as a woman in your field?
As a profession, distilling is attracting more women each year, but the numbers are still very small. Within the field, I’ve found people who are eager to help and share lessons learned. They know first-hand how hard it is to get this type of business up and running, and they are willing to lend a hand every step of the way. I sit on the board of the Missouri Craft Distillers Guild, and it is wonderful to see two more women at that table this year.
What’s next for Edelbrand?
We have opportunities and challenges ahead, like any business. This year we are focused on working with those chefs, mixologists, and business owners who are committed to introducing their customers to truly unique experiences and the “who” and “why” behind what they’re serving. The challenge is meeting the increasing demand for our spirits while maintaining the quality of what we do. We will never choose quantity over that quality. Those small copper-pot stills, our fermentation process, the fruits we use, and the commitment to small-batch distilling are reflected in every single drop in every single bottle.
Is there anything else about being a badass business babe that you’d like to share?
There is no better time for women entrepreneurs to step out and claim their own space. This is an exciting time to be in business, and especially in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. Both cities have rapidly expanding food and beverage cultures. Just last week, the James Beard Foundation announced its 2019 restaurant and chef semifinalists, and 13 of those slots feature Missouri names. Edelbrand is proud to have its products in six of them.
Want to learn more about Edelbrand Pure Distilling? Lynn will be presenting on the subject of Making a Modern Business Thursday, March 14th, at Stock Legal in the Central West End at 6:30 pm. Chances are you’ll be able to taste a little bit of what Edelbrand has to offer, and you’ll get to network with an intimate group. For more information or to RSVP please contact Joy at firstname.lastname@example.org
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