The history of Atelier du Bouilleur
L’Atelier du Bouilleur is a cooperative distillery located in the south of France. Since 2014, we’ve been producing high-quality spirits following the commitments of the “Natural Booze Manifesto” – ethical, eco-friendly, additive-free. We also offer bespoke distillation services for professionals and enthusiasts, including the Faugères wine estates who entrust us with the production of “Fine Faugères”, the appellation’s barrel-aged brandy.
A century ago, in the days of the “Midi Rouge”, our region was a major producer of wine brandy: the famous “trois-six” and other “Fines” were distilled by the thousands of liters in distillation cooperatives, traces of which can still be found in almost every village. The former Autignac distillery cooperative, now owned by the UDM – Union des Distilleries de la Méditerranée group, is home to our small artisanal distillery. Its existence is the result of many cooperative ventures, and this is reflected in its legal structure: we are a SCOP – a cooperative and participative company, linking the building’s past with the present.
1st mention of Fine Faugères
First mention of Fine Faugères in the inventory of Empress Josephine’s cellar.
Start of construction
Construction of the cooperative distillery in Autignac.
Auction of the last Fine Faugères after the Salles brothers stopped production.
Resumption of production
Production resumed on the initiative of the Faugères syndicate, in collaboration with Matthieu Frécon (itinerant distiller), the UDM group (owner of the building) and its regional manager Philippe Cayrol.
Creation of Atelier du Bouilleur
Launch of Atelier du Bouilleur by Martial Berthaud and Quentin LeCleac’h.
The team is growing!
Theresa joins the team and Quentin leaves.
Launch of the Natural Booze Manifesto
Launch of the Natural Booze Manifesto in cooperation with Alcools Vivant and Distillerie Baptiste.
The team is growing!
Matthieu joins the team.
Behind the brandies, a SCOP (Cooperative and Participatory Society).
Today, our SCOP is made up of three associates: Martial, Theresa and Matthieu, who live and work on site, in a post-punk collective mode of operation.
Recover, recycle, repair and cultivate: we try to do as much as possible ourselves, to reduce the pollution of our beloved planet and the consumption of its resources. And each of us contributes in a complementary team effort.
“You’re an artist whose art is only revealed when you open the bottle!” said a photographer during a discussion about the “Josiane” project, our French agave-based brandy. Buddy Willie, English chocolatier at Willie’s Cacao and trainee at Atelier du Bouilleur, agrees: “Martial is the most passionate distiller I’ve ever seen. When he talks about distillation, it’s like he’s playing a musical instrument.”
For a long time now, the transformation of a raw material into a transparent alcoholic liquid has fascinated him: picking the fruit, monitoring living organisms during fermentation, understanding micro-organisms and their habits, letting yourself be surprised, then taking the time to distill, simply but with all the senses, by hand, with the nose, with the strength of his arms (and his forklift). He has been passionate about distillation since 2002, and guided by Matthieu Frécon’s book, “L’alambic”, he made his first experiments, set up at the time in squatted villages in the Cévennes. For its very first brandy, it took a team of friends to collect the fruit – the strawberry tree (arbutus).
In early 2010, Martial felt the need to change his life. He thought about distillation and decided to become a professional. In his search for a still, he met Matthieu Frécon, the author of the famous book, who was then an itinerant distiller in Faugères. He too wants to change his life. If he sells his stills, it is to leave. The meeting of the two is synergistic. Matthieu sees Martial as a worthy successor to his work and offers to take over everything, including the performance for the Faugérois. With a friend – Quentin Lecleac’h, now a distiller in Uzès – and the help of UDM and its regional director Philippe Cayrol, and with the support of the Faugères wine estates, the Atelier du Bouilleur was founded.
Today, there is hardly a fruit or vegetable that has resisted Martial’s attempts, whether fermenting sugar cane juice from Vietnam, using wild agave harvested in Marseille, or creating daring gin recipes or barrel-aged marc. When people with ideas and projects contact him, they often find a sympathetic ear, and the crazier or more difficult the idea, the more tempted he is. Martial loves anything that lets him play with his stills to create art in bottles.
Theresa is a true Swiss Army knife. Originally from Germany, she is a certified penal mediator, translator in three languages, lecturer, writer, gardener, botanical connoisseur and spirits enthusiast. She is co-author of the Natural Booze Manifesto and has visited most of the artisanal distilleries in Europe to write a book on the subject.
Having arrived at the distillery in 2016, she has contributed to the renovation of the buildings, the development of the vegetable and aromatic garden, and manages public relations for Atelier du Bouilleur.
Loving to go for walks and foraging missions, it is not rare to see her coming back with all kinds of plants, fruits, berries or mushrooms. She has a habit of macerating and transforming things and contributes greatly to the development of brandy recipes.
She’s vegan, and as a good cook, she takes great pleasure in treating her guests to meals without animal products. She describes flavors with precision, thanks to a highly refined palate, the finesse of which you’ll be able to perceive if you find yourself in her company during a tasting.
September 2016 France Quintessence show, tasting after tasting with potential customers without interest and there: boom! Matthieu Collin comes from the restaurant where he was chef and tastes our spirits with precision and curiosity. Two years later, at big Raymond’s Cave St Martin, a gastronomic wine bar famous in the small world of natural wines: boom again! Matthieu delights us with his dishes and wine pairings. A friendship is born, made up of tastings of water, wine, alcohol, plants and good food, but above all of great discussions and laughter. We stayed in regular contact even when he returned to Paris to exercise his talent as a chef. May 2019 challenge: prepare a gourmet vegan meal for Theresa’s birthday! Boom again! Matthieu amazed us. The result: a break in both his and Martial’s careers. The combination of cooking and distillation opens up a whole new world… During the second confinement, Matthieu arrives at the distillery to leave his career as chef and begin that of distiller.
Obviously, from that moment on, everything changed at the distillery. His seriousness at work, his ideas, his experience, his know-how, his good humor and his curiosity enabled us to move forward in our distillation adventure. Martial finds an accomplice, a successor, a associate and someone to pass on his knowledge to while learning from him. In short, instead of handing over the business too quickly, they work together for a while: succession is more than guaranteed. The trio of distillers, pickers, roommates… is born, and it’s a perfect match.
Quote from Martial: “What stands out most for me is that after years of distilling, he’s the most passionate person I’ve ever met, and I’m lucky to work with him!”