The coopers’ workshop at Arcus is not at all what you would expect to find at a modern wine and spirits manufacturer. The
smell is a pungent mix of sherry, aquavit, sawdust and sweat – muscle power is the only proven method when it comes to constructing
or repairing barrels.
- Everything we construct here is done by hand – no machines can do this, says Arne Jøran Øyen, one of the coopers. Along
with his two colleagues, Ole Olsen and Arne Larsen, he mans the workshop to make sure that as little aquavit as possible leaks
out of the old oak barrels during their passage across the equator.
Spirits in barrels always lose some litres in the process. Some of it evaporates, some can leak out of the barrel. The missing
spirit is called ”the angels’ share”. Surrounded with cowhide and white American oak, Norway’s smallest group of craftsmen
make sure that the angels’ share is not excessive.