A bit about…
The people behind Fio have a long and proud tradition of producing cachaca that dates back more than 100 years. Sergio Caetano, the founder of the parenting Germana cachaca was back then a merchant driving mules to transport farming products such as flour, smoked meats, cheese, beans, and of course cachaca to the merry men of the mines in Minas Gerais. The slippery roads often resulted in broken bottles of cachaca, and so he started coating them in banana leaves, a tradition that Germana still abides by today.
The name Germana means “one of a kind”, “special”, or “unique” in Brazilian Portuguese, which was definitely also the impression we got from visiting them. It was also the name of a nun living on a mountain called “Sierra de Piedade” close to where the Germana distillery is situated today. She lived on the mountain all by herself and she was famous for her knowledge about plants and herbs, and used cachaca to extract the heeling properties of these. Later canonized into a saint, as it was believed she had mystical powers and revelations, Germana cachaca took her name to pay homage to the local religious traditions.
All of our products are made from organically grown and hand harvested sugarcane. The juice is left to naturally ferment to an alcohol degree of around 5-7% abv., and later destilled only once in a copper pot still to an abv. of approximately 55% abv. Only water is added before the products are bottled, which leaves us with a lot of the original flavours from the sugar cane juice in the end product. Some of our cachacas are left to mature in different types of wooden casks to round of the flavours and and interesting new expressions. For product specific information, please see below.
Fio Do Bigode
Works beautifully neat, but is meant to be mixed. Fio Do Bigode is a white unaged cachaca, filtered to reduce its oil components and ensure a consistent quality. Fresh and fruity, with clear taste of fresh sugarcane juice and tropical fruits. Fio has the bite of a white spirit, but is well rounded and gentle on the palate. Alcoholic grade: 40 %
The production of Fio do Bigode Cachaca all takes place in Nova Uniao about an hour outside Belo Horizonte. Everything from harvesting of the cane to bottling and labeling is done at the Caetanos family farm. Fio do Bigode is an artisanal hand crafted cachaca, produced at a sight producing less than 100 thousand liters a years, only using traditional and organic procedures.
The sugar cane is harvested by hand once every year without burning the fields in advance and brought directly back to the farm for immediate pressing to avoid early fermentation. After pressing the sugar cane juice is then filtered with the use of gravity before entering the fermentation vats.
Fermentation lasts for about 24 hours leaving us with a cane wine with an alcohol percentage of approximately 5-7% abv. Only wild yeast is used in the fermentation process, which is kick started using grist from locally harvested corn. After the fermentation process, the wine is transferred to the still ready to become cachaca.
Unlike many industrial cachaca producers that uses continuous distillation, the handcrafted cachacas uses Pot Still distillation, fired by the left over sugar cane fibres also known as bagasse.
Our handcrafted cachacas are only distilled once to an abv. between 38 and 57%, and after distillation only water is added before it is bottled at 40% abv.
Our cachacas are rested before being bottled, which takes place in large wooden containers that has only very little or no flavour impact. After this the unaged product Fio do Bigode is bottled directly, whereas our other cachacas are transferred into smaller casks for maturing. Oak, Umburana (brazilian cherry wood), and balsam are used for our cachacas to add different flavours to the final products.
After resting or aging the product is being bottled on site, and labels put on by hand. The bottles used for Fio do Bigode are old 600ml beer bottles, which were historically used by smaller artisanal producers who couldn´t afford buying bottles from the bottle plants, and therefore used what was available at hand. Cachaca in beer bottles, are therefore to this day associated with smaller artisanal producers and high quality. Capping the bottles rather than using a cork or a screw top leaves you with only one obvious choice. Once the bottle is open…
The Fio do Bigode project was started in love of good quality handcrafted spirits and for the Brazilian culture and soul. At the time we had worked with the Brazilian spirit in different ways arranging the Brazilian bar at the Copenhagen carnival and doing parties in the Brazilian environment with musicians and dancers. We felt put down by the fact that only industrial products dominated the global market for cachaca, a spirit that is the 3rd most popular spirit in the world largely drunk in Brazil, but without a proper representative internationally. After teaming up with the Copenhagen based spirit distributor “Sprit & co.” we quickly realized that we had to travel to Brazil and explore the spirit. We needed to know how it was created and appreciated by the Brazilian people as a part of a spirit producing culture dating back many hundreds of years predating the Caribbean rum tradition.
In Brazil we were greeted with open arms, and quickly adapted to the Brazilian way of doing business, which we found was closely linked to a heavy intake of cachaca. This was an important part of building relations and trust as a base for future business endeavors; all of course in a very serious setting……….
On our first trip one brand stood out in their openness, production quality, and willingness to explore the Scandinavian market; Germana. And after driving from Rio to Belo Horizonte to visit their beautiful farm in a beat up dirty micro car not at all fit for the Brazilian outback, there was no question in our minds that this was the right business partner for us.
After returning to Denmark we decided to create our own private label built on what we had discovered during our first trip to Brazil. The name “Fio do Bigode” means hair of a mustache, and was an expression used by the old portuguese colonists in Brazil. They would literally pinch out a hair from their mustache and hand it over vouching for the product and sealing the deal, and anybody who has ever tried pulling out hair from their own mustache knows that this is truly a sign of commitment and dedication.