Turew Distillery

Difficult beginnings

TUREW is located in Wielkopolskie Province, Kościan county, Kościan district on the banks of Racocki Rów.

It lies 12 km east of Kościan, in an agricultural setting, far from major communication trunk lines. At was here that General Dezydery Chłapowski, inspired by West European countries, began introducing modern methods for land farming and running a farm.

In 1815, a twenty five year old Dezydery inherited his fathers estate – Turwia (subsequently changed to Turew). The estate was seriously indebted, however the creditors agreed for the debt to be gradually repaid over time.

Then he left for England where for a year and a half he toured the leading farms there. He not only observed and learned but was also a farm hand, becoming thoroughly acquainted with various types of jobs. Before leaving England he purchased modern farming tools. Upon his return home he began reorganising and modernising the estate. The local landowners, seeing the changes were forecasting prompt bankruptcy. He began changing the farm by introducing crop rotation, he established tree and shrub hedgerows along fields, saying that such protection will be beneficial for crops. He was the first in Poland to use drainage. He imported milk cows from Switzerland, introduced meat and wool livestock and developed horse husbandry. The first sugar refinery in Poznań Province was built in Turwia. A distillery brewery and an oil mill were also established. He also opened the first, unofficial school for boys looking to learn modern farming, with many a fine farmers graduating that school over time.

Dezydery Chłapowski took over an estate burdened by a debts unheard of in those times – which he managed to repay after just 17 years. Over time he expanded the estate: he purchased Brodnica, Manieczki, Przylepki, Kopaszewo, Karmin and Goździchowo. He inherited 11 thousand morgens and upon his departure the estate numbered 34 thousand.

 

In the footsteps of history

The distillery tradition in Turwia reaches back to the first half of the 19th century. The first distillery built by the palace has not survived to this day. The distillery, where pure spirit is produced today, was erected at the start of the 10th century (1918). The last estate owner developed it just before the second world war. Then the Germans came and then communists, after which the former nationalised company had to suffer the hardships of privatisation and restructuring. The current owner is Top Farms Wielkopolska Sp. z o.o.

Approaching Turwia, it is still possible to see signs of general Dezydery Chłapowski, a hero of not only Napoleonic Wars, but also the longest war – between Poles and the Prussian invaders. Farmlands are criss crossed by hedgerows protected by law to this day. It was Chłapowski who was convinced that mid field hedges are conducive for the development of intensive agricultural production and naturally protect land and crops.

Something for the body

A 1985 single column copper distillation vat is in use at the distillery, 9.6 m tall with 20 distillate shelves and 11 spirit shelves, where the pre-fermented mash is distilled. Daily production reaches 4000 litters of spirit. The unit is heated by a 1934 German boiler. Here rye, triticale and potatoes and even corn (useful for Burbon) are processed to obtain spirit. Raw materials are steamed in a great steamer in order to liquidise starch after which the liquidised pulp is fed to a mash tun. When mash is being prepared, enzymes are added first and then distiller’s yeast. Fermentation takes place in traditional fermentation tanks, then the fermented mash is distilled. This method yields agricultural spirit at approx. 92-93%. In 2004 – 2011 Turew produced raw distillate from Dankowskie Złote rye for Wyborowa Single Estate, and then Wyborowa Exquisite vodkas.

Cooperation with Wyborowa S.A. spurred interest in the group not only from Poland but also abroad by those wishing to experience the spirit making traditions and to see the source of such a nobler vodka as Wyborowa Exquisite. Tradition and splendour of the vodka as well as the distillery attracted numerous groups to the source from the USA, Japan, Brazil, Uruguay, Australia, Europe and the rest of the world.

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Something for the spirit

Turew  Distillery is more than just a production facility, it is also an exceptional museum, unique in Europe as it depicts agricultural distilling. Its manager, Grzegorz Konieczny, is truly passionate and has been collecting old distillery apparatus and documents since 2004. A tasting room and a wonderful exhibition have been established. The distillery, where everyone is welcome, is visited by guests from all over the word. The historic, renovated apparatus used in the past are noteworthy. A 1906 steam machine and a 1905 steam boiler are most impressive. There are water pumps, mash pumps, old excise tax documents and hydrometers with one dating back to 1863. Some exhibits were sued in the Turew distillery, and the others in different facilities which are mostly defunct. Grzegorz Konieczny is very passionate when it comes to safeguarding the technology and solutions used in distilling. He is able to talk for hours about the history of distilling or the process which starts out on the field and ends up on our tables. Despite the difficult situation on the distillery market and an ever decreasing agricultural distilleries in Poland, we try not to forget the achievements of that industry and to make sure that at least one distillery remains for those who come after us.

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