Reducing waste is a challenge for all gin producers, but Estonian spirit maker Liviko has come up with a unique solution: using its spent botanicals to make cheese.
Liviko has joined forces with local dairy farming business Andre to create Crafter’s Juniper, a cow’s milk cheese produced with leftover juniper berries from the distillation of its Crafter’s gins.
Milk from Andre Farm’s herd of dairy cows is infused with dried juniper berries to create the cheese, which has a “delicate juniper bouquet” and is recommended by Liviko as a food pairing for one of its gin cocktails.
Erika Pääbus, from Andre cheese farm, said: “Liviko’s suggestion to add leftover juniper berries from gin distillation to our cheese was appealing from the start. Soon, the first batch of cheese with juniper berry fragments was set aside for maturing, and it became apparent that the slightly bitter taste of the juniper berries blends perfectly with the flavour of our Gouda-type cheese.”
Cheese making is not the only method Liviko employs to make the most of its raw materials. In 2019 it launched the Re-crafted Crafter’s sparkling drinks range, including a juniper berry soft drink and ‘juniper beer’, which are made with leftover extract from gin distillation.
Hanna Kaur, beverage architect at Liviko, said: “Juniper berries keep surprising us with their rich flavour profile. We have discovered three distinct flavour notes, which provide fresh, slightly bitter and faintly woody nuances in all three product categories.”
She added: “With Crafter’s Juniper cheese, we take the reuse of production residue in the food industry to a whole new level. I hope that we can inspire other manufacturers to create new flavour experiences in a similar manner.”
Founded in 1898, Liviko is one of the largest alcohol companies in the Baltic region. It makes more than 70 alcoholic and non-alcoholic products, including Crafter’s Gin, Bellingshausen Vodka and Vana Tallinn liqueurs, which are sold in 60 international markets.