It's been 160 years since Joseph Rumillet-Charretier, a passionate herbalist and apothecary, gave birth to Verveine du Velay. 160 years that it finishes our meals or awakens our aperitifs with its bright green and fruity taste. The fruit of a recipe as ancestral as it is secret, passed down from generation to generation. A secret held today by Céline Massardier, the manager of the Saint-Germain-Laprade site, but above all Alexis Lamaud, the precious master distiller of the Pagès Vedrenne Distillery.

First, a bit of history…

It was in 1859 that the “Grande Distillerie du Velay Rumillet-Charretier” was born in the heart of the lower town of Le Puy-en-Velay. A few decades later, in 1886, it passed into the hands of Victor Pages, his cousin by marriage. In 1906, a new building was built in the Saint Jean district. Recognizable among all, "The Verbena Building", surmounted by its dome of multicolored stained-glass windows (signed Charles Borie), still watches over Place Cadelade today. The building is also listed and listed in the Look out.

Pagès verbena distillery from Velay in Le Puy-en-Velay in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

In the 50s, with the arrival of the ambitious Raymond Julien-Pages, Verbena du Velay takes an international detour and is exported in France and abroad. It was also at this time that Pagès teas and infusions were born. 160 years later, the Verbena from Velay became a emblem of Auvergne gastronomy and still attracts Chefs from here and elsewhere who regularly exploit its rich taste.

The marriage of an ancestral tradition and modernity

"Verbena is grown here, in our garden, just behind the distillery..." To be a master distiller at Pagès, you must have a green thumb. As green as the precious liquid of which thousands of liters quietly age in oak barrels, between the walls of the famous ponote distillery. And the least we can say is that in 160 , the emblematic liqueur of Velay has not aged a bit.

On the contrary, it improves with age. Or rather, it diversifies ! The original Verbena from Velay green at 55% is in fact available in Verbena Gold at 40% and Extra, also at 40%. But also in Organic Verbena at 30% and in Small Verbena from Velay aperitif at 18%. But Pagès also plays the card of exoticism with more original and colorful liqueurs: mango, coconut, lychee, banana, cherry... Because at Pagès Vedrenne as in all Living heritage companies (EPV), tradition and know-how do not exclude modernity.

Verbena of Velay Pagès, tradition and know-how in Puy-en-Velay in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

But the Pagès store in Saint-Germain-Laprade is also full of non-alcoholic surprises! Pagès Vedrenne is not just liquor! Verbena du Velay comes in all forms: sweets, nougats, mustards, syrups, soaps, chocolates, cosmetics, syrups, and even vintage posters and prints to redecorate! Finally, Pagès Vedrenne is also about gift ideas.

Are you interested in the manufacturing secrets of Verveine du Velay?

La Distillerie Pagès opens its doors to guided tours. The opportunity to discover the history of the famous ponot elixir and the secrets of its production thanks to the precious explanations of the master distiller, Alexis Lamaud. Halfway between distillery and museum, in the middle of stills and oak barrels, we cross several rooms, until little by little, the Verbena of Velay reveals itself... But never completely! Because for 160 years, the lady has carefully guarded her little secret garden.

Distillerie Pagès opens its doors to guided tours in Le Puy-en-Velay in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

The stages of production of Verbena du Velay

Alexis Lamaud, the master distiller, cultivates, harvests and dries the verbena plants he has previously planted in the garden of the distillery. Verbena is planted in the spring, at the end of May, and harvested in the fall (September/October).

Once dry, the verbena is embellished with new plants, spices and aromatics, of which the master distiller alone has the secret.

Dried verbena and a mixture of plants are macerated in alcohol at 90° for 6 to 9 months.

This is where 7 red copper stills of the distillery start. Some date back to the 30s! For 17 hours, they strive to capture the best of the aromatic vapors that will create the body of the future Verveine du Velay.

This alcoholate, the freshly distilled verbena liqueur, is then added to water and a mixture of other ingredients (juniper, honey, nutmeg flower, thyme and other secret flowers…) The whole thing must then sleep in oak barrel for at least a year before being filtered.
1 year for green and yellow verbena, 2 years for extra and up to 10 years for special cuvées.

This is the only stage that does not take place on site at Saint-Germain-Laprade. The liquor is sent to a bottling site in Turenne (19). 60.000 liters of Verbena from Velay are produced in the Pagès Vedrenne Distillery every year.

Activities and workshops throughout the summer

The Pagès Distillery also offers more fun visits, for adults and children alike. With for example a treasure hunt "In the footsteps of Verveinia" for families. Will you be able to find the ancestral grimoire containing the precious recipe for Verbena du Velay?

For a discovery of the Verveine du Velay in joy and good humor, the Pagès Distillery offers, this time for the older ones, a cocktail workshop ! With production and tasting of beverages.

And for the greediest, those who only think big! The Pagès Distillery offers "The Verbena Experience". The opportunity to taste a cocktail accompanied by savory and sweet regional specialties around Verbena du Velay.

ZA Laprade (RN88, exit 48) 202 Avenue René Descartes
43700 Saint-Germain-Laprade
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