A tale of friendship from overseas, we are purveyors of artisan spirits produced by our century-old distillery found in the Ruhr Valley, in Germany.

Our founder, Bryn Jones (pictured), and his long-time friend, Peter Meinken, dreamed of bringing Peter's family recipes all the way from the German distillery to the shelves of bars and restaurants in the North East of England...

Well, it's safe to say the rest is history. Speaking of which, read on for more information about the origins of our German distillery and its links to our local area of Sunderland.


The distillery, located in the region of North Rhine Westphalia, Germany, can be traced back to the 1749 where it stood on a former wheat farm. Following urban development, the distillery was relocated to its current location in 1889. It is this date we refer to as its established date, therefore the distillery celebrated its 130th birthday in 2019.


The original owners were a master distiller and a merchant. Their names are retained in the distillery: The Distillery of Eicker & Callen.

The distillery was passed down through the family generations until 2015 where it was given to the Meinken family to continue the journey. The distillery and the Meinken family hold a special, trusting relationship that has lasted for over 75 years.

It is the Meinken family who assisted with recipe development and sales through their stores. The recipes and flavours were developed between the alcohol store and the distillery. There are more than 120 recipes, all inspired by the local area.

The distillery, however, retains its original name due to local fame.


The Ruhr Valley shares a similar heritage to our own local area of Sunderland; in former times much of its income came from heavy industry such as coal mining, and during the Second World War the region formed part of the industrial heart of the country.

It was due to this that it was the target of many Allied bombing campaigns. Some of the current drink recipes take their names from local pieces of architecture: The Moon of Wane-Eickel and Krummer Hund. Krummer Hund means ‘crooked dog’ in German, which was the name of a local crane commonly used in mining.


Each and every spirit we produce has a story behind it. What, or who, inspired the drink and the fascinating historical accounts that link them to our distillery's heritage play a big part in the experience of House of Ruhr spirits.