HHV x Freytag
A Match Made in Liquor & Vinyl Heaven
You might think that we came upon the idea for our latest collaboration project in the moment of a »no appointments and slightly tipsy« state, as good old Harald Juhnke so nicely put it. That’s not completely untrue, but also not the whole truth. But from the very beginning we were awed by Markus Freytag of Freytag Liqueurs & Spirits, his concept and his passion. He is living proof that you can go your own way, no matter what adversities and challenges you face. He has not chosen the easy path, but the right one. It is entrepreneurs like him who achieve great results with small steps, with a conscious and loving approach, with which we immediately felt connected.
»Made With Love and Affection, Without Artificial Shit«
It takes a good deal of quality, perfectionism and idealism to create and produce the kind of high-end spirits that Markus Freytag specialises in. It is so much more than just »booze«, it is highly artistic and attention to detail. Everything that moves and fascinates Markus is in his bottles. The spirit of this city, the appreciation for the hand-picked herbs and components, which he elevates and nourishes in order to find a kind of happy place for every single ingredient. A unique approach, creative combinations and of course the fact that Markus himself is a trained chef and knows what he’s doing – at least he tinkered long enough to know exactly what he’s doing – take his spirits to a whole new level and make them so special.
Since 2012, Markus Freytag has been putting his heart and soul into his company and his small manufactury at Ostkreuz, Berlin and he has already received numerous awards for his creations. The portfolio includes liqueurs, gin and also Korn. Everything is produced without tricks or artificial ingredients – »without artifical shit« as it says on his bottles – in small batches, as sustainable as possible, predominantly organic. Markus attaches particular importance to the quality, authenticity and taste of the basic products used. From the alcohol that comes from a family owned distillery, to the hibiscus sourced from a small farmers project in Burkina Faso, the regional honey from Berlin or the wildly picked juniper.
HHV x Freytag
After we had the chance to try Markus‘ fine spirits week after week at the Boxi, reflecting on our common love for music and vinyl culture, and after further intensive tastings and test rounds – hey, research is important – we chose his »Concrete Jungle Gin« as our favourite. And shortly after that, the idea for a collaboration came up. Following Markus’s philosophy, we created a small and exclusive special edition in limited numbers.
The HHV x Freytag Concrete Jungle Box is limited to 200 pieces, comes in an elegant printed wooden box and also contains a T-shirt with the characteristic Concrete Jungle artwork by Freytag. And now we could waste countless words trying to describe the taste and flavour. But in the end words will never do it justice and you have to experience it for yourself. And that’s what it’s all about. Above all, for us it’s about the person behind the bottle, about the story behind the product. Culture. As always. Because the space where culture and attention to detail come together is our very own happy place.
Of course we asked Markus Freytag a few questions to give him the opportunity to tell the story of Freytag Liqueurs & Spirits himself. Here we go:
HHV: Freytag Liqueurs & Spirits – How did it all start?
Markus Freytag: At a liquor bar (of course there was Pfeffi, which I don’t like – I don’t mea nto bash but it’s just like that) at a small Dub festival, I got the idea to create a spirit myself and offer it at a small homemade bar at a festival organized by friends of mine. I didn’t want to sell a commercial and perhaps not so qualitative Schnaps. It was obvious to connect all my heart’s affairs: Good music and a sense for taste and quality (I am a trained cook). What could be more logical than a good drop of liquor? That’s how the »Zimtzitze« came into being, created for a small alternative festival.
HHV: What challenges do you face when you decide to work independently, transparently and sustainably in this sector? Why did you choose this path?
M.F.: This has to do with a basic attitude. As I said, it started out more intuitively, with trying to produce high quality right away, but over the years it has evolved more and more. Of course I also belong to capitalism with my company, but I think it’s possible to do a business with a different approach. I have neither business angels nor financiers or any marketing agencies supporting me, who would only have profit maximization in mind anyway. I focus on a good product with a creative approach. I certainly don’t grow as fast as others do, but it feels good just the way it is.
HHV: The Concrete Jungle Gin is a homage to the big city – not just any city, but Berlin as our common home. What makes this gin so special and how do you capture the spirit of Berlin in it?
M.F.: I think our gin shares many attributes with our city. It is wild and intense, yet fresh and new. Berlin is a melting pot of cultures and people that make this city what it is. That’s what I wanted to capture in our gin, so it has many botanicals from all over the world. They are exotic botanicals like mountain coriander and Thai basil, but they become Berlin botanicals because they are grown here. This is how things merge. And when you put an ice cube in our gin, it gets cloudy, that’s because of the many essential oils it contains, and that reminds me of cloudy Berlin winter days.
HHV: How did the cooperation with HHV come about? What do you personally and Freytag have in common with HHV?
M.F.: My passion next to spirits is music. I’ve played records a lot here, organized a party series, tinkered with beats and am a passionate vinyl digger. So it was impossible to get past HHV. I love the concept and the vinyl buyers at HHV. Good music is like a good glass of rum, it inevitably goes together. And finally we came together because we are from the same hood. I’m always standing on the boxi market on Sundays and the HHV girls and boys bought liquor from me.
HHV: How does the Freytag Concrete Jungle Gin translate to vinyl – Which record would that be for you?
M.F: Very good question… Indeed I have an idea for a while now, I would like to release music (also from me) on vinyl, of course limited and would like to create a limited Schnaps for each vinyl release. In order to make the music tasteable, so that’s a really good question. I would spontaneously say “Miss Red – K.O.”, rough and fresh!
HHV: Last but not least: What do you say as a pro – What is the best way to enjoy Concrete Jungle Gin?
M.F.: Now this question is easier: Pure! And for the people who don’t like it so intense, in the »Gin Fizz« version. Cheers!
The HHV x Freytag Concrete Jungle Box is now available to preorder:
The official release is on November 22nd and of course we will celebrate it with you:
22.11.19 | 18-22 Uhr | HHV Store | Grünberger Str. 54 | 10245 Berlin
Launch Event | Drinks | Music
Warning! We have to include an important note: DRINK RESPONSIBLY – Please pay attention to responsible and moderate alcohol consumption. Note the risks of disproportionate alcohol consumption and abuse.
Visual Content: Oliver Kirsten