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Gunnel Hammarlund in Sundsvall might be one of Hernö Gins oldest unofficial brand ambassadors. Just about eighty years young, she is a driving force in the community at Norra Kajen where she lives. She lives an active life, dedicated to boule, trotting, daily walks and to take part in planning different activities for people living in the same housing cooperative. Gin evenings and group trips to Hernö Gin distillery in Dala for example. Life as active senior citizen leaves little room for boredom.

Her passion for Hernö Gin awakenes 2014 when Gunnel visits the distillery in Dala together with the retirement association SPF Freja.

– At first, we were quite doubtful when the bus drove onto small and tiny roads that very much looked like cow paths. We asked each other: Who in the whole world could be crazy enough to open a distillery in a small village in the woods?, Gunnel remembers.

– Meeting Jon Hillgren were fascinating. A young man showing that everything is possible if you put your mind into it. The distillery was not larger than a garage at that time, and everything happened here, in a very small space, she adds.


After her first visit in 2014, Gunnel returns to Dala over and over again together with friends and groups of people. With great interest she’s following the companys progress and growth to become an internationally known gin producer and well-known brand. The third time she’s visiting the distillery, in 2019, in the company of a group of people that are 85 years old. Three of them live in the same housing cooperative as Gunnel at Norra Kajen in Sundsvall.

– They were so very enthusiastic and back home again I promised them to taste a very special limited edition of Hernö Gin. You know, sometimes you talk so much, Gunnel laughs.

– But one day I decided to invite them to a gin tasting, she adds.

This is the beginning of several gin evenings with a group of people where the oldest participant is more than ninety years old. Gunnel use to tell the story about Hernö Gin, Jon Hillgren and lead a gin tasting.

– I take every opportunity to talk about Hernö Gin and spread the word. I have invited members of my Stock Club, the Bridge Club, friends from school and other friends at different occations to taste Hernö Gin and drink cocktails, Gunnel tells.


Careful preparations precedes Gunnel’s gin evenings and planning the right finger food is an important part of the work.

– While planning my first gin evening, I contacted Maria Åman, Head of Communications at Hernö Gin, to get some advice and printed Hernö Gin broschures. She is the best and we have become good friends, says Gunnel.

At one occasion Maria tells Gunnel about a cocktail created by Emil Åreng, a cocktail with suryp made of Västerbotten cheese. That makes Gunnel invite her friends to a cocktail evening where she serves this very cocktail.

– It sounds absolutely crazy and I must raise a finger of warning: Emil’s cocktail is dangerously good! I used a little bit less gin than in the original recipe. You know, we’re old people and our legs are wobbly even when we’re sober, she laughs.


When Hernö Gin is doing limited launches, Gunnel is one of the collectors that is waiting ready to place her order exactly on the first minute when the sales opens at Systembolaget online.

– I always order five bottles of the limited products. One to taste directly, one to drink in a few years and one to keep. I also order one bottle for my son and one for my son-in-law, she says.

A big problem is the storage of the bottles.

– Once my daughter visited me and for some reason she opened my wardrobe: But mom! Do you keep spritis in your wardrobe?!, she shouted. But what to do when you’re out of space in the bar cabinet? Necessity has no law, says Gunnel with a smile.

Today more of Gunnel’s friends are interested to attend her gin evenings. Next time she might gather more people than usual and Maria have promised to take part and till the story of Hernö Gin.

• Plans for the future: Arrange more group trips to Hernö Gin distillery in Dala.
• Favorite cocktails: Emil Åreng’s cocktail with Västerbotten cheese. And Pink 75.

Written 10 November 2022