Established in 2005 by a group of friends passionate about whisky, Stauning blends traditional techniques with modern ideas. The team have swiftly carved out a niche for themselves with a commitment to craftsmanship and using local ingredients. At the heart of Stauning’s philosophy is a desire not to replicate the time-honoured traditions but to refine and reimagine them for the modern era.

The founders of Stauning Whisky, a diverse group of enthusiasts ranging from butchers and teachers to engineers and doctors, shared a common vision: to create whiskies that would stand out not just in Denmark but on the world stage. Their approach combines the best of traditional Scottish techniques with the distinctive qualities of Danish ingredients, such as locally grown rye.

From the start, Stauning has shown a willingness to experiment. The distillery’s approach to floor malting exemplifies this blend of innovation and tradition. They are transparent with their methods. By sharing their technique and equipment designs, Stauning has fostered a sense of camaraderie and shared progress within the distilling community. Hopefully, at some stage I will be able to visit the distillery, so shall share with you then what these techniques are.

I spoke with Alex Højrup Munch, one of the founders about the distillery, having tasted a couple of their whiskies.

Stauning El Clasico 45.7%

My initial nosing revealed cassis, heather, sandalwood, herbs and classic rye grain. I love the spice that rye gives, making it perfect for cocktails, as well as sipping. This has it in abundance, and when I looked it up after tasting, learnt that it had been finished in vermouth casks. This would explain the herbaceous elements and why this is such an interesting whisky. A look at the label is worth a thousand words, so when I went back to it the vermouth was very evident. It was always there, I just hadn’t made the connection.

Stauning Bastard 46.3%

This has had 6 months of ageing in old Mezcal casks that have given a lovely combination of flavours. The Rye spice is ever present as are the cereal notes, but then I get digestive biscuits, tobacco, hints of ginger, brown sugar and vanilla. I love how this is different and challenges the senses.

Can you suggest some ideal Danish food pairings with Stauning Whisky that would elevate the tasting experience for consumers?
Curious: Open sandwiches, smoked meat and fish, raw oysters,

Rye: Rye bread / Open sandwiches, cheese, dessert e.g. cakes, dried fruit, chocolate,

KAOS: Fried chicken, burger, hard cheese, lamb, chocolate, steak, gingerbread, pork,

Smoke: Food with herbs, e.g. a stew-like Boeuf Bourguignon, blue cheese, smoked oysters, bacon, smoked fish

How can consumers learn more about your sustainability practices, and what steps are you taking to ensure your whisky is environmentally friendly?

We do not say much about all our sustainability initiatives on our website. So, for our consumers, it is not too easy to find a lot of knowledge. You can see that in 2023 we won the award as the Most Sustainable Distillery in the world.

We do a lot to ensure that how we work and operate is always including having a focus on sustainability. One key area is in our values for Stauning Whisky.


We should behave decently.

We should treat our customers, employees, colleagues, suppliers, and other business relations better than other comparable companies. We should be a role model in terms of regulatory requirements, environment, and working environment.​

This helps ensure that everybody in Stauning Whisky knows to work towards being better than other comparable businesses. Also when it comes to environment and sustainability. When we purchase anything we have a focus on always asking ourselves if what we are buying, could realistically be found a little better. So, all in all, it is an integrated part of how we think and work in Stauning Whisky.

This could also be seen and experienced when Stauning Whisky hosted the World Whisky Forum in 2022 where the topic was: Sustainability.

Can you elaborate on the sustainability practices implemented at Stauning?

The key thing is the energy setup. We have designed a unique setup when building the distillery. All energy flow in Stauning Whisky is connected. This makes it possible for us to reuse a lot of the energy from especially distilling in all other areas of Stauning Whisky. This design has reduced the needed use of energy significantly compared to alternative solutions you see around the world.

Besides this, we have installed solar panels on three warehouses that provide us with electricity. We also source all our grain locally (Rye and Barley). All are grown and harvested within 25 km of the distillery. Our waste products from mashing, fermentation and distilling are used for animal feed and for biogas plants to make energy.

You are known for your innovative approach to whisky making. Can you share some of the techniques or technologies you’ve adopted that set your whisky apart?

There are several areas where we in Stauning Whisky do things differently. Not just to be different, but because it makes sense. We have invented our own solution to be able to do floor malting. It adds a lot of character to the spirit. Equipment that makes this possible without people having to use a shovel like in the old days, and then not getting monkey shoulders.

We have openly shared our design with others, so it is now installed in different countries and locations. The latest installation is on a distillery on Islay in Scotland, who also wish to do floor malting. Our local blacksmith from Stauning has made the equipment for the Scottish distillery.

We have implemented a setup in our mashing that makes our Rye whisky possible. (we also make malt whisky). A setup you see nowhere else. But for us, it makes sense, as we get the unclear wort we want, and still be able to drain the liquid from the rye, which is a very tricky process.

Finally, we have chosen to have 24 very small pot stills, all directly fired, to add a lot of complexity to the flavour. In general, you can say that we make whisky like whisky was made 100 years ago. We have just invented and implemented solutions that do not break our back when doing so.

You have a “grain to glass’ philosophy. How does controlling every aspect of the production process, from sourcing local barley to bottling, impact the character and consistency of your whiskies?

Using local water, grains, heather, and Danish peat is a core aspect of our whisky-making philosophy. First, there is the sustainability aspect. Why ship thousands of tons of grains halfway around the world when we have access to local grains of the highest quality from neighbouring farms? Especially when it comes to rye Denmark is known to produce this of exceptional quality.

Regarding our smoked whiskies, we smoke with Danish heather and peat. They have a different botanical composition compared to Scotland and give a unique Danish profile to our smoked whiskies.

We feel that terroir is exceptionally important. Whisky should always reflect the local terroir.  That’s what makes well-made New World whisky so exciting.

Another aspect of using local grains is the annual variation. Our two farmers rotate the variety of barley and rye from year to year to protect from disease and secure a high yield by not depleting the soil. Also, we know that we only use grains from one year’s batch in a yearly production of whisky. It can be compared to vintages in wine and means that we will have a slight variation over the years. We think that this is an important aspect of being a craft distiller.

Have you had any experimental casks which simply didn’t work, and if so what?

We have only had 2 casks that didn’t work out as planned. A Chateau Yquem Cask and a cask from a Danish fruit wine producer (ex. pear wine cask). The flavours from the casks just didn’t work well together with our distillery character. Too boring.

We have other very experimental casks – and some might claim that they don’t work… But that is not correct. That is only because some people in this industry are not very open-minded and very conservative – if you ask me. Some of the experiments for example using Balsamico casks, Tabasco casks or smoking the grain with seaweed. Just to mention a few. The flavours are very different to classical Scotch, Irish, and Japanese styles. It offers something different and challenges the perception of how a “traditional” whisky should taste.

How do you plan to engage with and expand your consumer base in emerging markets, and what role does education around whisky appreciation play in your strategy?
To engage and expand our consumer base in emerging markets, our strategy includes targeted education on whisky appreciation and introducing people to new world whisky. This involves hosting tasting events, whisky education seminars, and partnerships with local influencers and connoisseurs to cultivate a knowledgeable community. We aim to illustrate the unique aspects of our Danish Rye whisky, showcasing our ethos, grain-to-glass approach, craftmanship and resulting character. Educating consumers on the nuances of whisky tasting, Danish cultural heritage, and the craftsmanship involved in our whisky-making process will help build a loyal and informed customer base.

Stauning is distributed in the UK by Mangrove and available from The Whisky Exchange