Sunday, 9 August 2020

Právo: American making absinthe in Czech mountains

31 July 2018

Prague, July 30 (CTK) - American Kyle Bairnsfather, from Boston, who has been living in the Czech Republic since the 1990s, is making the highly alcoholic spirit absinthe, which even Hollywood star Johnny Depp liked very much, in the Jeseniky mountains, north Moravia, daily Pravo wrote on Monday.

Depp came across Kyle's absinthe by chance during his work and when he was shooting the film From Hell (2001) in Prague, he remembered that he had liked the beverage and wanted to buy it, Bairnsfather told Pravo, adding that he met Depp and they had a drink together.

Depp then ordered a few boxes of absinthe for himself and his friends, singer Marilyn Manson and writer Hunter S. Thompson, as well as for the father of the then wife of his Vanessa Paradise, Kyle added.

Now his firm annually consumes 12,500 litres of pure alcohol for the production of absinthe and other herbal liquors. "Now we are increasing it to 15,000 litres and want to make Echinacea drops as well," Bairnsfather said in Czech.

He finds inspiration in old botanical and medical books, such as Mattioli's Herbal from the 16th century and a textbook for apothecaries from the beginning of the 20th century.

Bairnsfather is growing herbs for his products, such as Artemisia called "grand wormwood" and the Echinacea flowers, himself. He uses water from his own well, which is perfectly soft for his purpose, so the only ingredient he has to buy is alcohol, he said.

He proudly claims that he has never needed any loan or subsidy for his business.

When Bairnsfather, who studied urbanism and environmental psychology in the United States, came to the Czech Republic as a volunteer, a member of U.S. Peace Corps programme, in the 1990s, it never crossed his mind that he would end as a successful absinthe producer.

A few years later, his girl-friend took him to the Jeseniky mountains for the first time. He immediately "fell in love" with this landscape and has remained faithful to it since then.

He first got a job in the foundation of William Lobkowicz, a descendant of an old Czech noble family who was born in Boston and was returned extensive property in the Czech Republic. In 1997, Bairnsfather provided expert advice after the disastrous floods in Moravia.

He was brought to the production of absinthe by a chance meeting with another American at a party in Prague. This man was trading in Czech glass and Bairnsfather became his business representative in the Czech Republic, earning quite a lot of money.

Later, through another U.S. countryman, he met a Czech producer of top-quality natural spirits, Martin Sebor from Rumburk, north Bohemia, and started working as his salesman. Sebor persuaded him to buy a half of his firm and committed suicide a few days later, after transferring the other half to him family. Bairnsfather eventually bought the rest of the firm from his partner's widow and started making herbal alcoholic beverages on his own.

Now his absinthe is being sold both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

"One distributor from Berlin told me that each organiser of a concert of Rammstein must secure our premium absinthe for this band," Bairnsfather told Pravo.

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