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Creating whiskey in Arctic Norway

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

When most people think whiskey, they think of Scotland or Ireland.

But a group of Norwegian entrepreneurs wants to the change that by creating a made-in-the-Arctic whiskey  in Norway’s Far North.

The group is currently setting setting up a distillery in an old fish processing plant on the remote island of Myken.

“This project comes out of two loves: One is love for Myken, and the other is a love for high quality single malt whiskey,” says Roar Larsen, one of the people behind the project.

The whiskey is till approximately three years away from market, but Larsen is convinced that using the desalinated sea water from the Arctic ocean will help set the product apart.

“I think we’ll be the only distillery in the world doing (it),” Larsen says. “We think it’s going to be very, very exciting.”

Reviving island economy

Myken is 1.25 miles long and about 1,300 feet wide. In its heyday, it had 200 residents and a booming fishing economy.

Now, its population hovers around seven in winter.

Larsen hopes that the attention the product has garnered will help give Myken a second wind.

“We wanted to find something to keep this community alive and kicking for more than just one month in the summer,” he says. "We have local artists who we think can contribute making very special labels for us. So it’s going to be something that involves quite a large part of the community, we think.”

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.