Nestville Distillery


A distillery

since the 18th century

Very important historical documents and artefacts have recently been discovered in the region of Upper Spiš that tell the story, from both a historical and a modern point of view, of a significant period of life in this region. Archival records show that Stará Ľubovňa is home to Slovakia’s oldest preserved distillery, which was founded in the second half of the 18th century.


Castle references

Further references to the distillery can be found in the description of Ľubovňa Castle in the Hungarian Geographical Dictionary from 1851. The remains of the old distillery still exist below the castle today and are believed to be the oldest preserved building of this kind in Slovakia! Records surviving from the 18th century conclusively document the age-old tradition of distilling in the region. This was one of the key reasons why BGV, s.r.o., a company based directly in the picturesque Spiš village of Hniezdne, decided to revive the regional tradition of producing quality spirits.

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Raw materials

for alcohol production

A priceless map and other documents describe in detail not only the period in which the distillery was established, but also where and from what raw materials alcohol was distilled in Ľubovňa some 250 years ago. A record from 1747 shows that some of the rye grown at the foot of the castle was given to the local distiller (gorzelnik) to distil gorzalka (a common term for a spirit made from wheat and other cereals, used, for example, to make vodka). This suggests that authentic gořalka (liquor) was being distilled in Stará Ľubovňa as early as the first half of the 18th century, which is earlier than had previously been assumed. Alcohol was therefore produced here in much the same way as whisky – by fermenting a grain mash. It was subsequently matured in barrels, though these were not yet made of oak and the storage period was not yet fixed at a minimum of three years (this requirement was not set until after 1915).

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The old tradition of distilling was later carried on by the Morgenbesser family from Stará Ľubovňa. Now Nestville Distillery continues to make quality brandy by following the old tradition dating back three centuries. In Hniezdne, alongside its state-of-the-art alcohol plant and new distillery, Nestville Distillery has created an exhibition of the past and present of distilling and related crafts in the northern Spiš region. Visitors to the exhibition can experience and see the past and present of the distilling industry displayed in an interesting and engaging way. The exhibition is not just about whisky. It documents the whole history of distilling in northern Spiš, including the modern technologies in use today. This is one of the ways the company hopes to keep these traditions alive for the younger generation. Crucially, the company is building on a genuine, proven tradition.

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the ideas

By keeping to the original ideas, we have smoothly carried on a 260-year tradition. Given the local history, we felt there was not only a moral right to continue this tradition, but also a duty to initiate production here.