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Another kind of Bavarian brew

The Local’s series Made in Germany presents the best the country has to offer, including the atypical Bavarian tipple known as SLYRS Whisky.

Another kind of Bavarian brew
Photo: DPA

From luxury cars to precision machinery, “Made in Germany” still means quality craftsmanship around the world. But the Teutonic attention to detail goes far beyond engineering. This series will feature a diverse array of products from both well-known German brands and less famous firms. But no matter big or small, all of them are focused on being the best at what they do.

On a trip to Scotland in 1994, the distiller Florian Stetter looked around at the lakes, the hills, and the pine woods. He breathed in the fresh air and thought of his home Bavaria. The southern German state might be beer country extraordinaire, but after drinking a few single malts with his colleagues, he wagered he could craft a whisky every bit as good as the Scottish stuff back in Germany.

Stetter began his experiments in 1997, and it took some time before he got it right. “What was first produced,” he admits, “was undrinkable.” But Stetter kept at it, and in 1999 he eventually sold the first bottles of SLYRS Bavarian Whisky from the distillery he had founded in Schliersee. Using solely Bavarian ingredients – the barley, for example, is smoked over beechwood, not peat, and water from the Bannwald spring at the foot of the Alps – he has created a truly homegrown German whisky.

By now, he had the process down pat, distilling the barley ‘mash’ twice over in 1,500-litre copper stills, then storing the whisky for three years (as of 2015, a twelve-year version will be available). The result is a whisky with a deliciously sugary-sweet aroma, whose underlying scents contain honey, herbs, wood and just a hint of vanilla. The taste has a discreet malt flavour with herb and honey accents, with a dry finish. “Try SLYRS with 70 percent bitter chocolate,” urges Stetter.

The distillation of whisky, a process which has its European origins in Ireland and, later, Scotland, is relatively new to Germany, with distilleries popping up only in the last thirty years. SLYRS’ distilling process takes place very slowly, in much the same way that traditional Bavarian fruit brandies are made. Unlike Scotch whisky, which is generally stored in used bourbon casks, SLYRS uses American white oak barrels to obtain its deep amber colour.

The distillery, which has a capacity of 60,000 bottles per year, can be visited from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. There, you can see the unusually shaped stills created by master Bavarian coppersmiths for SLYRS. When you’re done, you can swing by the shop for a bottle (or two) of whisky, which goes for €39.99 for 0.7 litres. If you feel like it, while you’re there you can also pick up fruit brandy and liqueurs produced by Lantenhammer, the nearby distillery Florian Stetter runs with his wife, Andrea.

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BAVARIA

Bar closures and no Christmas markets: How Bavaria is tightening Covid rules

Bavaria will order the closure of all bars and clubs as part of sweeping new restrictions to try and control the Covid spread and ease overrun hospitals. Here's a look at what's planned.

Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich.
Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

On Friday Bavarian state leader Markus Söder announced more tough restrictions to deal with spiralling Covid infections and packed intensive care units.

“The corona drama continues,” said Söder after the cabinet meeting, adding that 90 percent of Covid patients in state hospitals are unvaccinated. “Being unvaccinated is a real risk.”

Bavaria has a vaccination rate of 65.9 percent – lower than the nationwide rate of almost 68 percent.

READ ALSO: Bavaria cancels all Christmas markets in Covid surge

Söder said the state’s Covid package was about “blocking, braking and boosting”, adding that vaccination centres will be ramped up. 

“We must act,” he said. “Bavaria is exhausting almost all legal means until December 15th.”

Earlier this week, Bavaria introduced a state-wide 2G rule, meaning only vaccinated people (geimpft) and people who’ve recovered from Covid (genesen) can enter many public spaces. People who are eligible to get vaccinated but choose not to get it are excluded. 

Here’s an overview of the planned restrictions set to come in on Wednesday, as reported by local broadcaster BR24. 

Bars, clubs and restaurant curfew

From Wednesday, and for three weeks, all nightlife like clubs, discos, bars, pubs and brothels in Bavaria are set to close their doors. Restaurants will have to shut at 10pm. So planned Christmas nights out will likely need to be cancelled or postponed. 

Christmas markets

There will be no Christmas or Christkindl markets in Bavaria this year. In the past days, several cities had announced that they would not be holding these events this year due to the Covid situation. 

Contact restrictions on the unvaccinated

Söder announced new restrictions on the number of people those who are not inoculated can socialise with. A maximum of five unvaccinated people will be allowed to meet, from two different households. Children under 12 will not be included in the total, as well as vaccinated or people who’ve recovered from Covid.

Cultural and sporting events

All cultural and sporting events can only take place with significantly reduced spectators. At theatres, opera performances, sporting events, in leisure centres and at trade fairs, there will be a 25-percent capacity limit. The 2G plus rule also applies. This means that only vaccinated and recovered people are allowed to enter (not the unvaccinated) – and only with a negative rapid test. Masks are compulsory everywhere.

Universities, driving schools, close-body services: 2G plus

All universities, driving schools, adult education centres and music schools will only be open to those who have been vaccinated and have recovered – making it 2G. This rule also applies to body-related services, like hairdressers and beauty salons. Only medical, therapeutic and nursing services are exempt from the 2G rule. So unvaccinated people can still go to the doctor or receive a medical procedure. 

KEY POINTS: Germany finalises new Covid restrictions for winter

Shops

Shops remain exempt from 2G rules, meaning unvaccinated people can visit them. However, there is to be limits on capacity. This means that fewer customers are allowed into a shop at the same time.

Special rules for hotspots

Currently, the incidence in eight Bavarian districts is above 1,000 infections per 100,000 people in seven days. Here and in all other regions where the incidence goes above this number, public life is to be shut down as far as possible.

This means that restaurants, hotels and all sports and cultural venues will have to close. Hairdressers and other body-related service providers will also not be allowed to open for three weeks, and events will also have to be cancelled. Universities will only be allowed to offer digital teaching. Shops will remain open, but there must be 20 square metres of space per customer. This means that only half as many customers as in other regions are allowed in a shop.

If the incidence falls below 1,000 for at least five days, the rules are lifted.

Schools and daycare

Throughout Bavaria, schools and daycare centres are to remain open. However, there will be regular Covid testing. Children and young people have to continue to wear a face mask during lessons, including school sports, unless they are exercising outside. 

Bavaria is expected to approve the measures on Tuesday and they will be in force until at least December 15th. We’ll keep you updated if there are any changes. 

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