Distillerie Massenez

A Napoleonic statute…

The birth of Distillerie Massenez goes back to the 1870s when Jean-Baptiste Massenez started as “home distiller” in Urbeis, in the Vallée de Villé. Jean-Baptiste Massenez unknowingly opened the way forward for his descendants who would inherit the status of home distiller: his son, Eugene Massenez inherited not only the privilege but also his father’s expertise and went on to become a recognised master distiller himself.


At the outset, Wild Raspberry…

By 1913, Eugene Massenez had become a front runner by distilling Wild Raspberry for the first time… this brandy became a phenomenal success thanks especially to the loyalty of the Queen of Sweden who fell in love with this Raspberry on her visits to Hohwald in Alsace.

Indeed, she come to Alsace to use Eau-de-Vie for her health, and at the beginning not to drink it ! And that is how Massenez became official supplier to the court of His Majesty the King of Sweden.

Massenez and fine French gastronomy

Nevertheless, it was not until the 3rd generation in the 1950s with Gabriel Eugène Massenez that the Massenez distillery really took off. Both forerunner and visionary, Gabriel decided to think big and develop his brand for fine gastronomy, especially the famous grand brasseries of Paris: Flo, Bofinger, Pied de Cochon…

His good interpersonal skills and the quality of his products gave him access to the great Michelin-starred chefs of the period like Bocuse, Verger, Troisgros, Lameloise, Haeberlin, Blanc…and some beautiful restaurants such as La Tour d’Argent, Maxime’s, Lenotre… In short, Massenez became a fixture at great French restaurants and a must-have for gastronomy.


A rare strategy at the time : export !

Adept at running his business with a steady hand and investing in ultra-modern production tools, Gabriel Massenez also had an innate business sense. For example, Massenez was the only brandy on board the Le France, a liner symbolising French industrial strength, inaugurated by General De Gaulle himself in 1960.

America…

Thanks to his meeting with Michel Dreyfus, the leading importer of wine and champagne in USA, Gabriel managed to export his brandies and make the Dreyfus Ashby firm Massenez distillery’s number one customer. The New York-based firm distributes wine and French spirits throughout America and is still Massenez’s best customer today!

Switzerland…

A great friend of Freddy Girardet, one of the greatest names in world gastronomy, Gabriel Massenez had no difficulty in placing his eaux-de-vie with Swiss restaurant owners, and especially Wild Raspberry which was unknown there.

Germany, Austria…

The adventure continued in Germany with another great chef close to Gabriel known as the “Chef of the Century”, the same title as Bocuse: Eckart Witzigmann. Despite strong German presence on the eau-de-vie market, the Massenez name became the leading brand because of its incomparable quality and its very fine, delicate eaux-de-vie. Likewise, top Austrian restaurants followed this movement, influenced by the fashion for French gastronomy.

Asia… Hong-Kong, Singapore and then Tokyo !

On the strength of this international success, Gabriel Massenez decided to tackle the Asian market with two flagship products: the Wild Raspberry Eau-de-Vie and the famous Prisoner Pear.
It was a major undertaking because at the time raspberries were totally unknown in Asia. The appeal of the Prisoner Pear lies the delightful expertise of putting the pear in the bottle while it is still on the tree and the quality of the eau-de-vie. At that time French gastronomy had not crossed these borders. Only bakers began to show an interest in the eaux-de-vie as they saw the potential for developing an upmarket segment. Massenez then spread to Tahiti and the Fiji islands…


A new generation…
and a new distillery !

In 1979 in response to strong growth, Gabriel decided to create a new distillery in Val de Villé. It was inaugurated by Paul Bocuse, a great, loyal friend of the Massenez family and in the presence of many other great chefs from all over the world. Then the fourth generation started at the distillery: since 1982, Manou Massenez, Gabriel’s daughter has continued her father’s work in export, developing growth of the family brand in over 110 countries! Her woman’s perspective and her business sense have enabled her to take Massenez to many world competitions that were previously reserved for Cognacs and to present Massenez Eaux de vie, Creams & Liqueurs to the world’s greatest sommeliers and barmen.

Manou’s involvement has also helped to develop Massenez’s brand image in the world of top class gastronomy with great French chefs such as Robuchon, Ducasse, Savoy…and also catering schools, barmen, private individuals…
In 1989, Manou’s brother, Dominique Massenez decided to diversify the family business by investing in vineyards in Chile.

Massenez on board planes!

The Massenez image began to feature strongly in Duty Free shops thanks to Gabriel Massenez’s investment in the first Duty Free trade fairs in the 1980s. Massenez then became one of the brands on board airlines like Air France, Lufthansa, SwissAir, British Airways, Sabena, Cathay Pacific, Singapour Airline…

Massenez, sparkle and glitter !

Official partner of the Cannes Film Festival with Raspberry and Williams Pear, Massenez was also served at the Élysée palace when Giscard and Chirac were presidents!
Massenez eaux de vie, creams and liqueurs have also conquered the palates of various stars who have visited the distillery: Fernandel, Bourvil, Alain Delon, Maurice Chevalier, Jerry Lewis, Barbara Cartland, Claude François…


And today ?

Associated since 2010 with Grandes Distilleries Peureux, Mr. Bernard Baud directs the distillery in Alsace with Manou Massenez and Elodie Naslin. Concerned to ensure the quality of their products and aware of the difficulties for the industry on the spirits market, this dream team continues to develop Massenez for export and in France though a feminine image, due to the historical importance of the Raspberry eau de vie and the emergence of a new profile of consumers through cocktails: women!

So Maison Massenez continues with this avant-garde line and through its new timeless muse, MISS MASSENEZ, advocates a completely new consumption of eaux de vie, creams and liqueurs: cocktails! Inseparable from the French lifestyle! Refined, Chic, Elegant… The exclusively masculine image of the after-dinner liqueur is finished, follow Miss Massenez and travel with her through her favourite cocktails…