Yepes (Toledo) (EFE).- The Gómez-Caro Distillery in Yepes (Toledo) has gone, in one hundred years, from making aniseed to manufacturing and registering its characteristic lemongrass and from producing gins to creating very diverse liqueurs and creams, including of beer or lavender: “This business has a lot of botany,” says Orosio Gómez-Caro Velasco, fourth generation of the family business.
The distillery is going to commemorate its centenary with an exhibition that reviews a story that arose from the courage of an entrepreneur, Águeda Rodríguez-Osorio, who a century ago instead of buying a car, as she had planned, invested the money she had saved in his grocery store to acquire an alcohol and pomace industry.
That’s where the Gómez-Caro began to make brandy, anise and liqueurs: “In the towns, some families made wine, others oil and we had a distillery,” Gómez-Caro Velasco explained to EFE.
Águeda, the weight of the distillery
«The one who had courage and courage was the great-grandmother. She was in charge of the business, an entrepreneur who always kept going, “says the head of the company, who specifies that Águeda “carried the full weight of the business.”
A few years later, he bought a house that had belonged to Count Salvatierra and, later, to the banker and liberal deputy Adolfo Bayo y Bayo.
The house still belongs to the family and in the cave of the property, Orosio Gómez-Caro González, Águeda’s grandson and heir to her character and entrepreneurial spirit, was born in the cave of the property in 1938, during a bombardment, among jars and stills.
This Orosio, father of the current owner, took over the company at a very young age and innovated and made it grow until it was passed on to the current generation.
From aniseed to lemongrass
The Gómez-Caro began making aniseed, 38 degrees, which they sold in arrobas (16 liters) without brand. Later they produced their brands and that is how, for example, Anís Tristán arose, a tribute to the painter Luis Tristán, a disciple of El Greco whose paintings are on the main altarpiece of the Collegiate Church of San Benito Abad de Yepes. And from Anís Tristán he derived Tristanovich vodka.
Then came brandy, gin, rum, “drinks for the night”, which were sold in nightclubs and nightclubs in Madrid in the sixties, seventies and eighties… until the big brands took over the entire market. and they “threw out” the little ones.
In parallel, Orosio Gómez-Caro González (third generation) began to enter “the world of digestives”, at first with Lemongrass, which he registered and which has been one of the company’s most characteristic products for thirty years, and then with other herbal liqueurs.
The current head of the company explains that the liqueurs can be made with natural or artificial added products (flavourings and flavorings), as many manufacturers do, or with their own macerate and distillate, as they do.
More organic, impossible
«What most defines our product is its naturalness. More organic impossible, “says this training biologist who emphasizes that” this business has a lot of botany “as they conceive it.
Aromas can be extracted by maceration, as is the case with pacharán, Limoncillo (which even incorporates lemon peel) or grass liqueurs, or by distillation: the alcohol and the aromas of the botanicals are melted in the still, thus obtaining the distillates of junipers, lemon, orange, melon, rice… or artichoke.
For a few years this distillery has also been developing “very personal products” for third parties looking for, for example, a “particular” gin or their own liqueur.
They are currently working with a cooperative in Benicarló that is looking for an artichoke liqueur and with a company in Asturias that produces blueberries; and for several years they have been making lavender liqueur for two entrepreneurs from Huete (Cuenca) and beer cream for Domus (beer from Toledo).
«It is another business area that allows you to see how lavender or lavender work. You are continually learning”, points out Gómez-Caro Velasco, who admits that he feels “comfortable” among plants and adds that they have to adapt to demand and update themselves to the tastes of consumers, who demand drinks with less alcohol content and little sugar.
History of a company
Reviewing the old documents and the entries and exits of the alcohol produced, the Gómez-Caro have found a first note of activity: February 2, 1923. And to celebrate the centenary, on Friday the 3rd they inaugurate an exhibition in the chapel of the old Hospital de San Nicolás, in Yepes, which will remain until the 26th.
The exhibition includes old labels and bottles, alcohol and formula books, laboratory items (alcoholometers, ebulloscopes and precision scales), copper stills and filters (which are also pieces of great beauty) and two bottle drainers of the model created in 1914 by the Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp, among many other pieces.
In addition to reviewing the history of the company, the exhibition winks at industrial design from the first half of the 20th century and is also a recognition of the industries that remain and innovate in small municipalities. EFE
By Lydia Yanel