Bugey Distillery highlights local heritage


This production site specializes in gin and has an economic dimension that is part of an ecological approach.

“Gin is not just for those who like alcohol. It’s quite a legacy and has an interesting history.” explains Marie Larivoire, who opened a gin distillery in Saint-Martin-de-Bavel, her native village. And this craft distillery, which is installed in a former EDF transformer, contributes to the revitalization of the environment.

“In addition to the project of creating a distillery, I decided to give a second life to the symbolic industrial wasteland of the village,” adds the young entrepreneur. From December 9, 2023, Marie Larivoire offers gins distilled by hand, with a traditional still, with Philip, her husband and the company’s general manager.

This project also has an economic dimension. “I had watched the success of microbreweries in France and followed the trend that had emerged in England a decade earlier and expected a revival of gin.comments Marie Larivoire. This spirit has already become one of the favorite drinks of city dwellers. I see considerable potential for this product in the market. By positioning myself as a specialist in this emerging trend, I want to contribute to the influence of gin in the region and beyond.

Great synergy

“My goal is to grow the company so that it is able to employthe sales manager announces. I would like to have a person dedicated to production so that I can focus on developing the business. In three months everything went very quickly; exceeds my expectations. And before I make a decision about the project and growth, I will seek support from the consular chambers.”

2024 started off really well for Maria Larivoire. She is one of the winners of the “101 Entrepreneurs” competition. Launched by the Ministry of Gender Equality, under the patronage of Matignon, and organized by Bpifrance, the competition allowed her to make connections.

“We were received at the Hôtel de Matignon on March 8 on the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day. Although it allowed me to discover different profiles, we were able to meet and interact with entrepreneurs. In addition to sharing expertise and networking, this led to the creation of a WhatsApp group that is still very active. We continue to support each other and give each other ideas at the same time.” she says.

The fact that the company is less than a year old and that it received a €13,000 grant from Initiative Bugey allowed it to apply for this competition. And because luck never comes alone, the French-English couple reaped the fruits of their labor by winning two awards for their lemon verbena gin: a silver medal in the General Agricultural Competition and a silver medal in the Lyon International Competition.

Great synergies, which he wants to use especially in the development of partnerships and sales formats with the aim of reaching a wider audience. The result would be the establishment of gift boxes and services (educational workshops, events and offers for businesses).

Currently working in small batches and “even though it requires more work, it guarantees the exceptional quality of my gin”, believes Marie Larivoire. Which gins are made from local plants selected in the Bugey region.

For this former electronics engineer who can earn a living, her motivations aren’t just dictated by a need for independence or a desire to control her own decisions: “I am driven by the desire to contribute in a beneficial way to the village, to revitalize the community through the development of partnerships with local actors.”

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