This is one of the few old industrial distilleries remaining in Catalonia, where grape pomace is distilled to produce liquor. Visitors to the museum space can observe the processes for obtaining alcohol and its derivates as well as personally viewing distillation and enjoying a small taster.
One of the great riches of Catalonia from the seventeenth century to the arrival of phylloxera, was the production of wine and alcohol for export. The Balanyà Distillery in Espluga de Francolí produced liquor from grape pomace, made up of the skin, seeds and stalks after extracting the must.
The Balanyà Distillery dates from the mid-nineteenth century and remained in operation until the 1950s. The closure of the building, leaving it in disuse, meant that forty years later it was practically unchanged. This led to Espluga Town Council acquiring the building and declaring it an asset of local interest. With the support of Fundació Lluís Carulla and the Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia work began on studying, researching and recovering the building to incorporate it into the System of the National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia, thus raising awareness of a key industrial activity in Catalonia over the last three centuries. The former factory opened its doors as a museum in 2009.
The Balanyà Distillery in Espluga de Francolí was a family business. The factory dates from the mid-nineteenth century and remained in operation until the 1950s.
The Museum of the Balanyà Distillery shows the industrial processing of grape pomace (stalk, seeds and skin of the grape) to obtain aiguardent and other variations. Visitors also find out about the tools, machines, people and society which made it function, and come to realise above all that the re-use of materials is not a modern innovation. And in the case of Catalonia specifically, visitors will grasp the importance of distilleries in the genesis and development of the industrial revolution.