Glen Els distillery uploaded by Ben, 21. Aug 2019
Glen Els Pot Stills  uploaded by Ben, 21. Aug 2019

Hammerschmiede (Elsburn/Glen Els)

The Harz, a mountain range in Northern Germany, is home to Elsburn Single Malt Whisky. Hammerschmiede Manufacture releases many single cask bottlings, mainly from fortified wine casks.

Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

Hammerschmiede Manufacture in Zorge in the Harz has been producing spirits since 1984. In 2002 Alexander Buchholz started to add whisky to the range and at first decided to release his Glen Els Whisky, which is matured in Madeira, Sherry, Marsala, Malaga, red wine, Sauternes and several other cask types, only as single cask bottlings. These single cask editions are still among the most sough-after bottlings of Glen Els. Nowadays the diverse range of Hammerschmiede also comprises series with larger multiple-cask batches, such as "Journey", "The Ember" or "Unique Distillery Edition", which get their special character from the selection and combination of certain casks. Journey and Unique Distillery bottlings have a fruity, spicy character, while The Ember marks the entrance into the world of smoky whisky.

Yes, Glen Els also has smoky whisky, but the smokiness doesn't come from peat like in Scotland, but from smoking the malt over beech and alder wood. For the strongly smoky Glen Els Woodsmoked Editions this smoked malt is combined with the usual Glen Els malt. With its The Alrik series made from 100% smoked malt, Glen Els also caters to friends of intensely smoky whiskies.

The History

The old upper Hammermühle (or Hammerschmiede, engl. hammer mill) in Wieda in the Harz, which lent its name to the spirit manufacture of the Buchholz family, looks back upon a long and colourful history reaching back to the end of the 13th century. Ore mines, the procession of iron cast and smelting early on shaped the area at the end of the Kastental valley, which was cultivated by Cistercian monks. Plague and war also devastated the Kastental and haunted the mill time and again. Closures, destructions, repairs, the erection of new dams and furnaces - the Harz and its iron industry survived many hardships. Around the year 1820, however, the upper hammer mill ceased production. In 1895 Theodor Knoblauch, ancestor of the present owner Alexander Buchholz, took over the old Hammerschmiede and turned it into a production site for wooden shovels for the malt and sugar industry. After his death the mill deteriorated until his grandson Karl-Theodor Buchholz decided to renovate it and opened a restaurant with its own spirit production. A herbal liqueur, a caraway liquor and a fruit brandy cuvée lay the foundation for success on the spirit market. More products followed, and in 1998 the Hammerschmiede closed its restaurant and concentrated on spirit production, which was already at 5,000 litres back then. In 2000 the project ‘Harzer Single Malt Whisky’ was started. After the production, storage and sales rooms had become too small, the Hammerschmiede relocated from Wieda to the old Kurhaus in Zorge in 2005. 

In 2007 the warehouse already housed 50 casks of future Glen Els whisky, and after expanding production capacity in 2009, the stock rose to 250 casks until the middle of 2010. Nowadays the casks are stored both in Zorge and in the old Hammmerschmiede in Wieda. Meanwhile the Harzer Single Malt Whisky Glen Els, named after its water source, the Els well, has become well-known and acclaimed beyond Germany. 

Visitor Centre

Opening hours:

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Saturday    09:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday and Sunday closed  


Distillery tours:

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday 3:00 p.m.

Saturday    11:00 a.m. / 12.15 p.m. / 1.30 p.m.



Elsbach 11A

D-37449 Zorge 

Phone: +49 55 86 - 82 82