Dating back to 1948, Union Distillery's origins were in wine production until 1972, when the Borsato and Ziero families took control of the company and changed the focus of the business to the production of malt whiskies.
Distilling takes place at their two sites in copper pot stills, using a combination of traditional techniques and the latest technology married together by half a century of distilling experience. The team make great use of their location too - the pure crystalline waters and the climate of the Serra Gaucha valley providing the perfect raw ingredients, to which they add the finest malts, maturing in oak barrels until the spirit inside embodies the authentic nature of the Union Distillery.
The result of their commitment to quality, continuous improvement, creativity and innovation? Authentic Brazilian whiskies with the ability to exceed the expectations of their customers with sustainability at their heart.
A visit to the Union Distillery is similar to immersing yourself in the 'Water of Life' itself...amid copper pot stills & oak barrels of ageing spirit, those inside are surrounded by stories from the past 60 years in one of the most modern distilleries in the world.
With over 60 years experience, the ideal climate, carefully selected raw ingredients and the use of traditional methods refined with the latest technology, Union Distillery produce authentic Brazilian Single Malt Whiskies of the highest standards
- The Union Distillery was founded in 1948 under the name Union Montanhesa de Indústrias and was pioneer in the production of beverages (wines and derivatives) in the city of Veranópolis
- Having become aware of their rapidly growing market they modernised, expanding their manufacturing plant and creating a new distillery in the city of Bento Gonçalves, Vale dos Vinhedos in mid-2015
Once a year for a whole month, Union Distillery is filled with the smoky aroma of peat. During this period, peat malted barley is distilled, bringing to life to some of their unique spirits, loading them with aromatic potential.
The Serra Gaucha valleys have their own distinct microclimate with low temperatures throughout the year, with the local water, an essential ingredient in the production of malt whisky, beautifully clear, cold and abundant.
Union Distillery use selected varieties of barley, malted and some peated, from both local and imported sources. They dry the barley by burning peat, which incorporates characteristic flavours into the barley that then transfer to the distillate.
With a clear vision for the future their aim is to create products that meet and even exceed the expectations of their customer - something they aim to do in an environmentally friendly way
Cask World's Highlights
Deep in the Brazilian countryside of Bento Goncalves is this hidden gem - an incredible single malt whisky distillery surrounded by one of the country’s finest wine regions.
Historically, Brazil may not have been a place one assumes whisky comes from, not even for Brazilians, but that is changing. Union’s CEO Luciano and his team recognised the growing world whisky boom in the premium sector and began building their brand four years ago. They have made an impressive start.
They also have millions of litres of well-aged whisky ready to be shared with the world and a passionate and educated master distiller, Darius, who previously spent 20 years in the wine industry (it should be mentioned that before our visit, we sent Union samples to well-known Scottish experts as part of a new world blind-tasting batch, and they unanimously rose to the top). Add this to the five decades of distilling experience, strong financing, and the fact they are expanding with the construction of a vast additional bond store, and you have a formula for long-term success.
Union is a bucket list distillery and location visit - to enter the town, one must drive through a giant cask bridge, the cathedral is shaped like a cask, and I was delighted to discover a resort that had renovated old 10,000 litre barrels into high-end two-story lodges!! The distillery makes for a perfect tourist attraction allowing Union to capitalise on the area’s wine tourism.
The Union team felt like a family away from home that welcomed me with open arms. The warmth they exude comes from the lifestyle and culture of the region, where community spirit and family traditions remain strong, resulting in high longevity with people expecting to live into their nineties. After visiting, I feel comfortable leaving Rosewin casks under the care of Union - you can too.
Union Distillery at a glance
Founders (if appropriate)
Owned and run by the Borsato and Ziero families since 1972
Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Luciano Sergio Borsato – CEO
Dario Crespi - Head Distiller
Volnei Trintinaglia – Sales
Jessiê Attolini – Sales Assistant
Three stills with a combined capacity of 52,000 litres, two distilleries (they modernised, expanded their manufacturing plant, and then created a new distillery in Vale dos Vinhedos in mid-2015) plus a substantial new warehouse under construction to add to their existing storage facilities.
Primary Whisky Types
Peated and Unpeated with various finishes from virgin oak finish, wine cask finish and extra peated
Virgin American Oak, Ex-Bourbon and ex-wine casks
A warehouse with 5.000 m² of storage space - enough for twenty thousand 200 litre barrels
Av. Length of Maturation
5 - 8 years
6% per annum on average
Current Bottle Prices
£25 - 42
Take a look around
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