Magnus interviewed by his hometown newspaper

Manx Whisky Company may not be world famous but we have been noticed in Magnus' hometown of Kungalv in Sweden and in December last year he was interviewed about the first release of Manx Whisky.

The article in Swedish can be found here.

For those of you who don't read Swedish - here is an AI generated translation:

Magnus from Ytterby makes renowned whisky on the Isle of Man

In the coming days, the world’s first whisky from the Isle of Man will be released, made by 48-year-old Magnus Grinneback from Ytterby. In a stone house on his property, he runs an old-fashioned whisky distillery where every step of the process is done on-site – with equipment that could be from the 1800s!

Magnus Grinneback likes processes and understanding how things work:

“I have, for example, tried making cheese. It was not one of my better projects! Some cheeses were edible, but it wasn’t worth the effort. I like brewing beer, making wine, and I have baked bread in a thousand different ways. I’ve tried everything strange that one can do themselves,” he says on the phone from his home on the Isle of Man. In just over a week, he will launch his very first self-produced whisky – and the very first to see the light of day on the Isle of Man.

“No one made whisky here, which I thought was very strange since it is located right between Scotland and Ireland. It was almost too good not to try. Since I already knew how to brew beer, it wasn’t a huge leap from beer to whisky distillation, so I thought I might as well try and see if it worked. And it did.”

Magnus had no connection to the Isle of Man when he moved there in 2018. He has a long background in the gaming industry and after many years in places like China, Malta, and Malaysia, he ended up on the small island.

“We started a company here, and my wife and I moved with it. The idea was not to stay very long, but we liked it so much that we chose to stay.”

Distillery as if taken from the 1800s

Magnus’ wife Panida is from New Zealand, and he himself grew up in Ytterby and Kungälv. This week, he has been back in his hometown to celebrate his mother’s birthday, and a few times a year he travels here – even though it is not always the easiest route from an island in the Irish Sea, he says with a laugh. The couple lives in the countryside outside Baldrine, and in a stone house on their property, Magnus, Panida, and his partner Scott Young have built up Manx Whisky. They handle the entire process themselves and exclusively use barley grown on the island.

“There are farm shops and microbreweries, so why shouldn’t there be small whisky distilleries? Ours is pygmy-sized in the whisky industry, but we can produce about 1,000 bottles a year.”

Manx Whisky is also made old school with equipment similar to what was used in the 1800s, and only with barley that they have malted themselves – a labour-intensive process where they convert the barley starch into sugar, which is then fermented:

“Almost all beer and whisky production has outsourced that process to large malting factories. But we malt all our barley ourselves; it is a different process and resembles how a distillery was run and looked in the mid-1800s.”

It is a full-time job, says Magnus, and even though he still has smaller assignments in the gaming industry, it is the whisky that takes up most of his time – and is by far the most enjoyable.

Higher demand than supply

But making whisky is absolutely not for the impatient. The raw spirit must age in barrels for at least three years before the product can be called whisky; even longer is not uncommon. During this time, you can taste and make minor changes to the process, but it is a long wait to see if the final result meets the standards:

“You have a feeling, and you can taste a bit along the way and use your sense of smell and taste as much as you can. But then you don’t know much more.”

Now Magnus’ first batch has aged for three years and is ready to be sold to whisky enthusiasts – and there are many of them. The demand for Manx Whisky is so great that all interested parties had to register, and the bottles will be raffled off to ensure fairness.

How have you managed to create such high demand without having done anything before?

“The first trick is to have very few bottles! We haven’t marketed ourselves much more than on Instagram, but generally, there is a huge interest in whisky. People are very interested, especially in whisky from places they are not used to.”

The premier whisky has been aged in a sherry cask – different types of casks give different types of flavours – and according to Magnus, Manx’s first whisky is a dark variant with Christmas-like flavours and some sweetness, perfect in front of the fireplace. Curious residents of Kungälv, however, will have to wait to taste it, as alcohol laws make it difficult to sell outside the Isle of Man and the UK.

But never say never, says Magnus, even though the focus for the near future is primarily on refining and enhancing what eventually ends up in the glasses:

“The whole point of such an adventure is to make the best whisky possible. I already think it is good, but there are still things that can be improved. Now I want to experiment a bit and see what we can do even better.”

And then you have to wait another three years?

“Yes, indeed! You need to have some patience. But often when I make changes in the manufacturing process, I have a good feeling. You know 70 percent that it turned out right. Then you have to wait a few years to see exactly how right it was.”

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