Warenghem, an unusual name for Bretons! Warenghem is the name of the family that came from the Nord Pas de Calais area to the pink granite coast and Lannion in 1900.
In the late 19th century, the Warenghem family, originating in Northern France, set up their activity on the banks of the Léguer at Lannion, in the heart of the Trégor area and the pink granite coast. The patriarch Léon created the distillery and its first product, élixir d’Armorique whose fame rapidly spread beyond the boundaries of Brittany. The distillery first specialised in the production of fruit and plant liqueurs and creams. Over the years, it built up a reputation of high quality in the spirits sector while perpetuating the Breton tradition and know-how.
From 1901, Elixir d'Armorique, a skilful blend of 35 plants, is crowned with success, obtaining many distinctions in 1901 and 1902 at the international trade fairs of Brest then Bordeaux before going on to international renown, particularly in America. It is still being marketed one century later, and, in the tradition of major plant liqueurs, its taste still pleases.
The Distillery is a family business. Léon's son, Henri, took over in 1919. He continued the work and diversified the activity by starting to produce liqueurs. Mint, blackcurrant or even kirsch become part of the product range. The Distillery makes a name for itself through a network of wholesalers and wine traders in western France. The local craftsman gradually become a regional liqueur distillery.
Yves Leizour takes over the distillery and, in 1967, associates with Paul-Henri, the third generation of the Warenghems. Constantly seeking to improve their products and to benefit form the rich Breton soil, they decided to move the Distillery from the town centre to the outskirts of Lannion: to the site of the Rest Avel spring (the Wind's Dwelling) which provided them with pure, crystal clear water. The region is famous for its Plougastel strawberry? It would be perfect for liqueurs. The market gradually directs its focus to supermarkets.
The Distillery remains a family business. In 1983, it was Gilles, the son of Yves and a trained pharmacist, who continued the quest for innovation. In 1984, he created the Melmor chouchen, which is the chouchen most people drink in France today.
But the inspired idea that revolutionised the Warenghem Distillery is the creation of the first Breton and French whisky. Encouraged by Bernard Le Pallec, sales director, Gilles Leizour ensconced himself in the laboratory, creating a blend in 1987: the WB.
The first Breton single malt whisky followed in 1998, the Armorik. Brittany shares a Celtic culture, climate and land with its Irish and Scottish cousins. Supported by a coastal, rainy, stormy climate, the Breton character finds its full expression in the whiskies carefully developed by Gilles Leizour.
The daring gamble of breton whisky has paid off, Warenghem Distillery is a market leader in French whisky.
The Distillery is just as attached to its local heritage as it is to researching innovation to satisfy the most demanding of spirits connoisseurs. As the apple is a typical fruit of Brittany, Fine Bretagne AOC was developed in the 90's, then Pommeau de Bretagne AOC.
Ten years later, the Distillery offered the Diwall beer that revived the brewing tradition of the town of Lannion.
2009-2010 is a watershed in the distillery's development. Until then strongly focused on supermarkets, the distillery decides to develop its product ranges and win over connoisseurs from the four corners of the world.
The distillery's products, chiefly Whisky Breton Armorik and Fine Bretagne Gilles Leizour, are now distributed throughout most of Europe, but also in the United States, Canada, Japan and as far as Australia.
The team of the Distillery now has 16 employees fully devoted to producing high quality Breton spirits. Come and see us when you visit our wonderful region. We will be delighted to tell you all about our activity.