Szicsek pálinka: From the small soda plant to the state-of-the-art still
The products of the Szicsek Distillery can be recognized easily by the pálinka-lovers. No, not because of the name, but because of the well-known, typical bottles and labels, since the founding owner of the family-owned firm, János Szicsek always believed that we do not give the name and reputation of the product, but its quality, reliability and the pálinka-experience together obtain the fame for the product and its manufacturer.
Modesty, professional humility, the definite goals and struggles together made the one-man enterprise one of the most important company of Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok County, a generally known pálinka manufactury in Hungary, which was born in the building of a small soda plant in The Hungarian Great Plain. Today the firm has a new and modern distillery with a visitor centre and tasting room.
The 35-year-old history of Szicsek Pálinkas has been marked by the 300 awards: pálinka excellencies, Hungarian Quality Product Award, Masterpiece of Hungarian Craft, Hungary’s Best Pálinka awards, the most successful distillery award, and the lifetime-achievement award in 2016. What is the secret of this distillery, and why does it differ from other firms? Long-term goals, endurance, mistakes and failures that always give power to find the new unique ways.
The aim of the distillery has been always to produce pure pálinka long before the “new pálinka-image”, and to show the real values of this noble drink abroad too. They believe that the pálinka is able to give a pleasent surprise to the consumers everywhere in the world. Already at the time when cheap and low-grade drinks were popular in the domestic market, this distillery produced its products according to the concept of the modern-day pálinka, their pálinkas have been made exclusively from flawless raw materials after stoning, which may seem natural, but just think about how to extract a strawberry core…
Nowadays 30-40 different kinds of cultivated and wild fruits are processed, gaining their final shapes in about 100 types of hand-bottled and labeled finished products. Plum, apple, apricot, grape marc: ordinary fruits, but have you ever tasted the spirit of rose-hip, blueberry, cornel, melon or pumpkin? Can you believe that cca. 1.6 kilograms of elderberry fruit is needed for the production of 4 centiliter pálinka? Have you ever discovered that the plum of Beszterce, the red plum, Penyigei, Stanley or Lepotica plum will give you different experiences, and will it also have other characters after aging in barrels?
No question: the number of possibilities in the fruits and the pálinka is infinite, the playfulness in the production is unlimited, and the pálinkamaster’s job is often an art rather than work. At the Szicsek Distillery, they say that the well-known traditional flavors (apricot, pear, apple, plum, cherry) give the essence of the pálinka, while the specialties (black currant, blackberry, raspberry, mountain ash) give the variegation. The processing of 1000-1200 tons of fruit in a year ensures quality stocks in a high quantity. This allows that the pálinka produced with the traditional pot-still method can be sold in Romania, Slovakia, the UK, Austria, Sweden, Canada and even Iceland.
The company continues to believe and work on the pálinka’s international brand and fame. It is always delighted to hear the news about tasting pálinka in Washington, Montreal, New York, Warsaw, Brussels or Stockholm, and this is not an everyday happening, when the real Lapland Santa Claus order a shot of pálinka at the booth of the company in Berlin.