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Hiernagla Brenneri AS

Hiernagla Brenneri AS is located in Vestland county, in Sveio municipality, about 15 minutes drive from Haugesund centre. Hiernagla is run by a group of five friends who have built and established the distillery themselves. On a holiday together crossing Loch Ness, and sailing around the north part of Scotland,  the difference between Western Norway and Scotland was reduced to one castle on each headland as well as distilleries in the harshest places. “Why not also whisky at home in Sunnhordland?”

Two of them had already from the early 20s been in a whiskey club and also brewed beer for many years. The idea was born and the company was eventually established. Where should the distillery be located? Tjernagel was identified. There used to be an old coastal burial mound on historical grounds. The area is mentioned in the Snorre Saga and is a beautiful spot located by the coast, with a view southwest towards Bømlahuk and the open sea and north into the Hardangerfjord.

The name was therefore Hiernagla Brenneri, after the old spelling for Tjernagel, which by the way means sword button. The building is not on Tjernagel, but the goal is there in the future. A stone’s throw from Ekrene, where the distillery is built, a 3,000-year-old gold bracelet was found. This has been used as inspiration for the logo.

Without experience from the industry, there has been a lot to get acquainted with for the group of friends. It was a major milestone when the manufacturing licence was in place in early February 2019, and later that month, the handmade pot stills came from Spain. In September production started and the first drops were produced. After some testing of recipes and testrunning of equipment, the first barrels were filled late in November. After 3 years and one day, in November 2022 it is officially called whisky, but the taste determines whether it is bottled then or requires more maturation.

In addition to single malt peated and unpeated whiskey, Hiernagla  produces the Værbitt Gin series. This can be bought at  “Vinmonopolet” (the Norwegian liquor store), as well as selected bars and restaurants. The first aquavit was put into barrels in the summer of 2021 and is still maturing before it will be bottled.