A family history

Francès Le Lay - Arrière Grand Mère

Francès Le Lay – Arrière Grand Mère

1921. In the small Breton village of Plomelin in Finistère, Francès Le Lay, the great-great grand-mother of the current owners of the Distillerie des Menhirs acquires a second-hand pot still meant for the itinerant distillation of cider brandy called lambig. And so the story begins.

Francès’ son, Guillaume, follows on as one of the regular distillers working at the small public distillery operating at Pont Menhir in Plomelin. He will be joined by René, his son.

In 1955, Plomelin village still counted 7 itinerant distillers owning one or several pot stills. The distillers would go from village to village with their equipment, stopping by water spots to distill cider.  At this time, Plomelin even proclaimed itself Brittany’s lambig capital !
Guy Le LayFrancès, Guy, René… Guy nearly severed the line by becoming a maths teacher. But genes are strong and Guy rejoined the family tradition set by his forebears.
In 1986, helped by his wife Marie Anne, Guy planted apple orchards and built his own distillery at Pont Menhir setting his mind on producing a brand new drink in Brittany: Pommeau des Menhirs which would indeed become the first Pommeau de Bretagne AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlée*).

But while perfecting his craft as a cider distiller, Guy went a bold step ahead. Always searching for new products with an authentic breton identity, he imagined the unexpected distillation of a singular cereal: buckwheat (blé noir in French or ‘black wheat’). Brittany’s buckwheat ! No less.

Expectations made real in 1998 by the construction of a dedicated building and the acquisition of  a pot still (or alembic). Also benefitting from the invaluable advice of a wine & spirits expert to ensure the project succeeds and guarantee the quality of the future whisky.

Hardly a few years later, in 2002,  the first and only pure buckwheat whishy in the world is created: Eddu Silver.

The story is still very much alive. The business has developed but remains family-run and owned, with Guy Le Lay’s sons now in charge of the distillery, each of the three brothers with specific responsibilities: Erwan in production, Kevin in management and Loig at marketing.

Ar re gozh o deus graet o labour eus o gwellan. Ar re yaouank a ray ivez *

« The Elders have worked at their very best, so will the Young ». Breton wisdom.