Creating whiskey in Arctic Norway

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 3 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 2 kilometres long and 400 metres wide. In its heyday, it had 200 residents and a booming fishing economy.

Now, its population hovers around 7 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.”

To find out more, Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn reached Roar Larsen in Norway:

Related stories from around the Arctic:

Canada: Profiles: Small Business owners in Canada’s North, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Demand for reindeer meat up in Finland, Yle News

Sweden:  Mink farming: a growing industry in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States:  Fairbanks, Alaska Co-Op open for business, Alaska Dispatch

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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