Christoph Kössler runs one of the most famous and internationally successful schnapps distilleries in Tirol. His state-of-the-art facilities in Stanz, located next to the pretty baroque-style house he calls home, is where plums are turned into schnapps.
Perched high on a sunny plateau overlooking the town of Landeck, Stanz boasts perfect climatic conditions for growing all kinds of fruit. It should, therefore, come as little surprise that this small village in the west of Tirol is known across the region for its outstanding schnapps distilleries. Stanz may be home to just 150 households, but it has no fewer than 60 distilleries. The most famous is the Feindestillerie Christoph Kössler, whose fine fruit-based schnapps have won numerous international awards and prizes.
The spirit of distilling
Owner Christoph Kössler and his family live in a nearby house where the famous baroque architect Jakob Prandtauer was born in 1660. Prandtauer's initials can still be found on the logo of the Feindestillerie Christoph Kössler. While in the 17th century many people still firmly believed in magic and alchemy, Kössler's skill in creating fine schnapps has nothing to do with black magic and everything to do with a never-ending quest for perfection. That goes for both the fruit – some of which comes from the family garden, with the rest sourced from local farmers – and the distilling process itself, which demands a combination of experience, patience and intuition. Here, there really is no easy way out – any compromise would have a negative impact on the taste and appearance of the finished product.
Christoph Kössler's favourite fruits for making schnapps include local orchard plums and "Spänling", an ancient species of wild plum native to the region.