Peter Hjelm left a legacy of unwavering commitment to excellence and the environment
Gripsholm Distillery dates back to 1580 and was built adjacent Åkers Styckebruk cannon manufacturing company founded by King Karl IX of Sweden. Alongside the cannons, the distillery supplied vodka to the foundry workers and to the people in the surrounding area.
By the end of the 1700’s Åkers Styckebruk was owned by Joachim von Wahrendorff, one of Sweden’s wealthiest men. He had lent money to King Gustav III of Sweden who passed a law mandating that only the government could legally produce and distribute vodka. King Gustav III had no way to pay back the loan to Von Wahrendorff, so instead of money, he gave him the right to distill vodka outside of Swedish state regulation, directly under the King himself.
Gripsholm Distillery was born with and with its 29 pot still pans, 280 workers and a production over a million liters of vodka annually, it became the largest in Sweden. Due to the Swedish alcohol monopoly the distillery was closed during the 19th century, but in 1995, when it finally became legal for private distilleries to produce alcohol in Sweden once again, Gripsholm Distillery was reborn.
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Peter Hjelm, founder and owner of Kanon Vodka , was born in Sweden into a family of cannon manufacturers. Growing up, Peter was instilled with an interest in mechanics and engineering —bikes and cars primarily—which inspired his later interests in design as well. In the 1980s, he encountered the city of Akers Styckebruk and it’s rich history with distilling alcohol. Even more inspiring was his discovery of centuries old bookkeeping records from the old distiller y. Add to that the pristine landscapes and natural beauty of the area and a vision of a new brand of vodka that was to be committed to being 100% local and org anic was born. Peter wanted to bring about a return to the spirit of historically pesticide-free alcohol and so in 2008, he started the journey by taking an active role in the design, construction, and refurbishing of the old Gripsholm Distiller y into the modern and eco -friendly facility where Kanon is distilled and bottled today.
But Peter ’s commitment to creating a vodka that is 100% organic isn’t the only important part of Kanon’s mission.
He is also committed to taste, and has worked hard to make sure that the recipe for Kanon is not only environmen-
tally conscious but also extraordinarily delicious. As a fan of vodka himself, he’s ensured that ever y bottle of Kanon
tastes great any way you experience it, whether that be in a cocktail or straight up as a shot. Despite his many successes, Peter continues to plan for the future. Soon, the distiller y will beg in offering guided tours of its facility; plans for a museum chronicling the rich history of the brand and of the reg ion’s connection to alcohol distillation are also in the works. And perhaps most exciting of all, Kanon plans to extend its reach into flavored vodkas using local fruits and berries of course—meaning there will be plenty to look for ward to from Kanon for years to come.