The project started a few years ago at the Zandberg in the city center of Gent, Belgium. The distillery building has a rich history and had many different functions and inhabitants through the centuries. In the 13th century it was an Inn named Pelicaen. Later it housed aristocratic families, including in the early 19th Cesar Maes, the then tax collector in Ghent of Napoleon. We have no certainty but the story goes Napoleon himself slept here. At the end of the 19th century the nuns “the Kindsheid Jesu” transformed the building into a convent, where they nursed partially sighted persons. After several years of renovation work the edifice is ready for the future to come. The new chapter of this masterpiece’s life includes a distillery: Dada Chapel.
Inspired by Dadaism, the revolutionary art movement that thrived in the early 20th century, we want change spirit drinks. What is dada? Everything is dada. Nothing is dada. No rules, no boundaries.
Thinking differently is a way of life. Critical experimentation is a must. And the holy credo? In Odd We Trust.
In odd we trust
When we start developing a product, we try to ask the right questions and search for unconventional answers.
Why distil the hell out of vodka and filter out all the goodness? Can we work with local raw materials and adopt typical rum production methods?
The Potato Vodka and the Brhum are two creations within this vision. The Potato Vodka is unfiltered full of character and made from Belgian organic potatoes. In our search for local potatoes, we ended up with the variety “Mona Lisa”. Delicious potatoes and a nod to Dadaist Duchamps with his controversial interpretation of the Mona Lisa. (LHOOQ) Handmade? Yes sir! We have run each potato through the grinder ourselves and made a kind of “mashed potatoes”. We let this “mashed potatoes” ferment and afterwards we distill the mash over our column. An addition of wheat serves to achieve a nice balance. And contrary to what often happens, we don’t filter! We love character and taste. It would be a shame to filter the soul out of this spirit.
The Brhum, on the other hand, is our rebellious local interpretation of rum. We all like to drink rum at the distillery, but we didn’t want to import sugar cane to ferment and distill here. So we decided to look for a local solution. After many tests, we were able to develop the brhum together with a local sugar factory. A fine sugar beet distilled spirit with which, in addition to our non-matured version, we have already filled many oak barrels that age patiently in our chapel.
Really our Dada!
The beating heart of the distillery can be found in the pristinely polished coach house. The installation consists of two separate pot stills with the option of distilling over a column. This state-of-the-art installation ensures that we can heat a wide variety of spirits.
Distillation is essentially an extraction process, where alcohol and flavorings are extracted from any fermented or alcoholic liquid. This can be made from various raw materials. We always try to work with the best local and / or biological raw materials.
For brewing and fermentation, a step that we believe is very important in this production process, are supported by 150 years of experience (Duvel Moortgat). That’s how we try to make a difference, from this first step, the fermentation. From fermenting raw materials to distilling and maturing. Each step of the process is carried out by the Dada team itself.