DISTILLERS/PRODUCERS

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Yves Kübler

Master Distiller, Founder of Kübler

He is one of the artisans behind the renaissance of absinthe in Switzerland. Yves Kübler was born in Couvet, Val-de-Travers in 1966. Today, he is one of the top absinthe distillers in Switzerland. The drink was legalized on 1 March 2005. That day, Yves Kübler was the first person to produce absinthe again. Legally. The historic moment came on the back of intense efforts.

The adventure began in 1999. Yves Kübler went on the offensive for a change in the law to put an end to over 90 years of prohibition and the ban on producing absinthe. The efforts of Yves Kübler and his supporters came good in June 2004: the Swiss Parliament ended prohibition. With the help of several farmers, he also kickstarted production of the plants needed for making “la fée verte” in Val-de-Travers, namely grand and petit wormwood, which now grow in the valley. While this was going on, Yves also enlisted the help of a specialist lawyer in Washington to start proceedings for legalizing the product in the United States, where the ban was lifted in June 2007.

But Kübler’s story begins much earlier than that. Yves grew up in Travers and was fascinated by distillation from a very young age. Heir to three generations of absinthe makers and distillers, he is the great grandson of Frédéric Emile Kübler, founder of the Kübler distillery in Travers in 1863. So, it was only natural for him to buy his first still with a childhood friend in 1983, when he was only just 17. They produced absinthe together in secret. Yves had only one aim in mind: to walk in the footsteps of his ancestors. But he had to keep his feet on the ground. Which is why he also did some professional training and joined the global knitting machine giant Ed. Dubied & Cie SA in Couvet. The job took him on many business trips all over the world.

But his passion got the better of him in 1990, and he decided to go into business with the family heritage, launching the first ever aniseed aperitif to be distilled in Switzerland since the prohibition of absinthe in 1910: “La Rincette” had arrived. A product that smells a lot like absinthe but without the plant, the use of which is still banned in Switzerland at the moment.

Following the rebirth of absinthe in 2005, Yves Kübler set to work protecting this product from Val-de-Travers, proposing – with the aid of several other distillers in the valley – a Protected Geographical Indication. A major aim of this designation is to work exclusively with local plants to produce absinthe.

This local grounding has not prevented Yves Kübler from looking to the rest of the world, however: a lover of food and wine and an avid traveler, Yves has had the opportunity to meet the world’s greatest sommeliers, chefs and pâtissiers. Some of them have become friends, allowing him to continue exploring, tasting and sharing a huge variety of exceptional products.

Thanks to this blend of passion and tenacity, Kübler Absinthe is now the best-selling absinthe in Switzerland and is exported to several countries, including the USA. It regularly comes top in the most prestigious competitions.

 

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