From poker player to distillery entrepreneur: we meet founder of award-winning Swedish craft distillery Norrbottens

Back in October on a trip up to northern Sweden I got to experience an evening sampling gin with an incredible five-course meal at Swedens’s northernmost distillery, Norrbottens.

Along with some drink mixing classes by the awesome Mixed by Bella, it was a perfect evening. So I decided to find out a little more about how the distillery came to be from the founder himself, Dennis Bejedal.

Alex gets to make some gin cocktails Norbottens distillery with the watchful eye of Mixed by Bella

Nordic Watchlist: You say that a trip from Stockholm to Norrbotten changed everything and you saw what the region had to offer – what happened on this trip and what did you experience that inspired you? 

Dennis Bejedal: Basically, I left Stockholm to find a new path in my life after spending thirteen years as a professional poker player, which gave me the opportunity to live all over the world. I have always had a childhood dream to start an entrepreneurial journey building my own company. Since food and drinks always been one of my biggest interests, I knew that I wanted to do something around flavors.

Leaving Stockholm to a small town in Norrbotten really gave me perspective. Living close to the nature, ocean and mountains really had a huge impact on me. Flavors and aromas hit you by just opening the door and walk out a couple of meters in the garden. I finally saw an opportunity to do something with my passion for artisanal gin.

With a huge garden of flavors and aromas from the mountains, forests, meadows and the ocean I wanted to distill and bottle that in a bottle of spirits.

Nordic Watchlist: Tell us more about the experiences we can have when visiting Norrbotten, the surrounding area, and your distillery?

Dennis Bejedal: If you haven’t visited Norrbotten yet you must put it on your bucket list. Norrbotten is really one of few places in the Nordics where you can explore the different seasons with huge contrasts. It can be the freezing winter with northern lights, the “spring-winter” where we have over one meter snow combined with bright blue sky and sun or the summer with the midnight sun and it is bright daylight 24/7.

On your visit make sure to book a visit to Norrbottens Destilleri and take place in our world of flavors. We have high focus on food and drinks and take you on a tour of our distillery.

Nordic Watchlist: With Christmas not too far away, what is one of your favourite Christmas cocktails?

Dennis Bejedal: This year’s favorite Christmas cocktail is a twist of a gin sour where I combine our Forest Dry Gin with our Sea Buckthorn/Jalapeno Glögg (mulled wine in a new artisanal technique)

30ml Forest Dry Gin
30ml Sea Buckthorn/Jalapeno Glögg
20ml Syrup
20ml Lemon
2-3 dashes Aromatic Bitters
Egg white

First dry shake all ingredients without ice to build a foam, then add lots of ice and shake it cold. Strain into your favorite glass and enjoy.

Nordic Watchlist: Tell us about some of the series, films, and music you have really enjoyed in 2022 – any recommendations?

Dennis Bejedal: Working a lot combined with a four-year-old daughter at home have really put me behind with movies and series. Hopefully I will have some time over Christmas for this.

SeriesSuccession (I know I’m late on this one, already told you I’m behind)
Movies – I can tell you bunch of children movies.
Music – Albin Lee Meldau

If you want to learn more about Norbottens Distillery then head over to their website

Their products have not been released in the UK yet but as soon as they are we will let you know.

Planning a trip to Sweden and fancy visiting the distillery? Get in touch with Off the Map Travel who can put together a bespoke trip for you!

Alex Minnis

Alex is the Founder and Content Creator for Nordic Watchlist. He has a passion for all things Scandinavian as well as for film and TV, and has more than 12 years of experience working in the travel industry for the Nordic region with Off the Map.

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