In the late 19th century, the distillery was founded by the Warenghem family in Lannion, on the pink granite coast. Léon Warenghem, the founder, originally from northern France, and his heirs, enjoyed their first success with the distillery through plant liqueurs. Elixir d’Armorique, a blend of 35 plants, is the distillery's flagship product, having received numerous honours at international trade fairs over the years, and continues to enjoy an international reputation, particularly across the Atlantic. Elixir is still produced today at the distillery.
Henri Warenghem continues the work developing liqueurs, expanding the distillery's product range with mint, blackcurrant and even kirsch liqueurs. The Distillery makes a name for itself through the network of wholesalers and wine traders in Western France.
In 1967, Paul-Henri, the latest generation of Warenghems, joins forces with Yves Leizour. They diversify the range of historic liqueurs and focus development towards supermarkets in Brittany. In 1974, Paul-Henri Warenghem and Yves Leizour move the distillery from the town centre to the outskirts of Lannion, right by the Rest Avel spring which means ``dwelling of the wind'`` in Breton.
In the early 80s, Gilles Leizour, a trained pharmacist, succeeds his father. Eager to revive the distillery, he decides to focus the company's activities on regional products, notably creating the Melmor chouchen. Always searching for improvements and stability for the distillery, and encouraged by Bernard Le Pallec, sales manager, Gilles Leizour decides to take a daring gamble: to launch the first 100% Breton - and French - whisky.
After extensive trials, the WB Breton whisky, a blend made up of 25% malt whisky and 75% grain whisky, is successfully marketed in 1987.
In 1993, fine-tuning his expertise, Gilles Leizour ordered construction of a distillery that is solely dedicated to whisky, equipped with a pair of copper stills inspired by the Scottish distilleries.
Armorik, the first single malt from Brittany and France, is officially launched in 1998. This single malt quickly becomes the driving force of the distillery.
Armorik Double Maturation was voted Best European whisky at the World Whiskies Awards in 2013, then became double gold medal winner in 2014 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The other editions of Armorik, Armorik Classic and Armorik Sherry, will also receive awards and boost the prestige of this single malt. This international recognition enables Armorik single malt to be exported across the globe (Sweden, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and Western Europe).
Gilles Leizour retires in 2016 and David Roussier, his son-in-law, who joined the distillery in 2009, succeeds him at the head of the company, continuing the work in hand. The distillery participates in the creation of the ``Breton Whisky`` geographical indication, helping to ensure that all ``Breton Whisky`` is properly mashed, fermented, distilled and aged in Brittany.
Major works are carried out to construct 2 new cellars, tripling the amount of whisky able to be stored for ageing, as well as a new reception area, projection room, exhibition area and tasting room. The Distillery is designated a ``Living Heritage Company``. Awarded by the French State, this label recognises French companies achieving excellence in terms of artisanal and industrial know-how.
Founded in Lannion on the pink granite coast in the department of Côtes d’Armor, the Warenghem Distillery has been an independent and family-owned producer of Breton spirits for over 100 years.
At the distillery, we are conscious of our global responsibility in terms of satisfaction among customers, employees, partners and the local community. This is reflected by the particular importance we attach to the following principles:
Constructed in 1900 to produce high quality liqueurs, our distillery enjoys over 100 years of artisanal experience and know-how. Thanks to the passion of Gilles Leizour for innovation and whisky, in 1983 the distillery became the first whisky distillery in Brittany. The inheritors of this history, the entire team at the distillery work hard to create an exceptional single malt that reflects the Breton character.”
In 2019, the distillery was designated a Living Heritage Company. Awarded by the French government, this label recognises French companies achieving excellence in terms of artisanal and industrial know-how.
“Our distillery is the first whisky distillery to receive this label in France. It recognises the work of the entire team at the distillery, who work together to sustain traditional know-how while always striving for excellence.”
Proudly attached to our region, we consider it to be a fundamental factor in the production of our whisky: from our water, coming from a flaw in the granite directly beneath the distillery, to the organic grains (Breton wheat and Breton and French barley) to the unique maritime climate on the north Breton coast… It is the environment as a whole that shapes the flavour of our whisky.
But it is also the culture of the Trégor region, forged by the unique landscape of the Armor (“the sea” in Breton), where the wild coastline gives way to deep fertile gorges; a land of tradition marked by the Breton character, a culture born out of perseverance and discovery that encourage us to innovate.
The “Breton Whisky” GI
In 2015, the distillery participated in the creation of the Breton Whisky geographical indication, enabling all Breton whisky to be defended and promoted.
The GI also provides a guarantee of transparency for whisky lovers. All “Breton Whisky” (or “Whisky de Bretagne”) must therefore meet demanding specifications, guaranteeing its quality and the know-how of the distiller. It must have been produced from water sourced from Breton soil and have been fermented, distilled and aged in Brittany.