Freimeisterkollektiv is a network of independent distillers. Many of the Freimeisters are farmers, fruit or winegrowers. The other distilleries source their raw materials from their respective regions and are therefore in close contact with agricultural producers. For this reason alone, we are addressing the current wave of protests by farmers in Germany.
At first glance, the elimination of climate-damaging subsidies for fossil fuels seems welcome, even if the way in which this was planned and communicated has understandably caused a lot of misunderstanding. In the meantime, however, it has become clear to everyone that the nationwide protest is no longer just about this point.
In recent days, the press has repeatedly emphasized how dependent agriculture is on subsidies. We have no objection to this for the time being, because we are firmly convinced that not every aspect of our society can and should function according to the rules of a free market economy. Culture, public transport, healthcare or even ensuring our food supply and landscape conservation are some of the areas that we believe should rightly be supported by the community.
However, it becomes particularly problematic where profit-oriented companies benefit directly or indirectly from subsidies. In the current economic climate, of course, we understand the need for affordable food, but agricultural subsidies also lead to money being poured into the pockets of food companies and discounters. A quick look at the list of the richest German families reveals that selling off food can be very, very lucrative. It is well known that agricultural subsidies serve less to support small-scale and sustainable agriculture, but rather to strengthen large industrial companies, food corporations and supermarkets that dictate the prices of agricultural products.
However, the solution cannot be for everyone to throw their New Year’s resolutions overboard and only drink high-quality liquor that is sustainably produced on small, independent farms. You would certainly be making a tiny contribution to a better world, but definitely not a good contribution to your health.
When we founded the Freimeisterkollektiv, we also saw our idea as an open source model that could be adopted by other agricultural food and drink producers. The concept of a network that keeps the value chain with the farmers and in their regions for as long as possible can also be extended to other foods. From the procurement of raw materials, which for many Freimeister take place in their own fields, vineyards or orchards, to production such as mashing, malting, maceration and distillation, through to refinement and barrel storage, value creation takes place largely in the region. The agricultural distillery not only actively protects the landscape, for example by maintaining orchards, but is also a prime example of how the value chain can be extended on the farm. On top of this, this is continued through networked marketing and sales structures.
This concept, which we use for spirits, can also be applied to other refined agricultural products. Whether vinegar, oil, cheese, tea, chocolate or much more, there are numerous areas that can benefit from a similar network model. In this way, the basic idea of the Freimeisterkollektiv can become an open source blueprint for other agricultural producers.
Freimeisterkollektiv is not only a network for marketing and distribution, but above all a stage on which farmers and craftspeople can shine with their outstanding masterpieces. In addition to all the economic constraints and the question of how agricultural subsidies can be better organized, it is also about respect and recognition. There is no more disrespectful way to treat the yields of a harvest or the lives of farm animals than to squander them on the shelves of a discount store. And this is the reality for the majority of German farmers, so we can well understand their anger and frustration.
By consciously consuming sustainably produced food and beverages, whereby we shamelessly praise our Freimeister spirits at this point, you save yourself the crucial question: Should I do something good for myself or something good for my environment? We promise you, with every sip you will be freed from this moral dilemma. However, we accept no responsibility for any other side effects. Cheers to a very real paradise where the enjoyment of liquor, social responsibility and sustainability go hand in hand!