Minas Gerais is one of the most important states of the federation of Brazil, from an economic, cultural, political and historical point of view. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the discovery of gold and diamonds led the small town called Vila Rica de Ouro Preto to become one of the most important cities in the world for decades, having over 100,000 inhabitants when Buenos Aires and New York had only 10,000 each.
The race for gold in Minas Gerais was the largest in the world of all time, surpassing those of California and Siberia. This race, however, was short lived as the whole supply was depleted in only 50 years, causing the dispersal of tens of thousands of people, a phenomenon which explains the huge number of cities, the population and the impressive diversity and cultural richness of Minas Gerais. The name Germana means something genuine, pure, without mixing. It also stems from the cultural-religious phenomenon occurred at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when a nun called Germana living next to a famous sanctuary (Church of Our Lady of Mercy), was overtaken by trances and mystical revelations of nature. She was also known for preparing a medicine from cachaça and herbs which would attract pilgrims.
When the Caetano family decided to start producing cachaça on their Vista Alegre ranch, they resolved to pay homage to the custom of the region and its religious tradition by naming their cachaça after the mystical one, Germana.
Built approximately 90 years ago, the Vista Alegre Ranch dedicated its lands to banana and sugar cane plantation; with 300,000 banana trees and 15 hectares of sugar cane, all planted without the use of pesticides. The land is fertilized with the husk of the cane and is still ploughed using oxen.
The cane is harvested without any use of fire, and is washed and ground within 24 hours. The fermentation of the cane broth is natural – using corn meal as a nutrient to the yeast found naturally in the sugar cane- and carried out in carbon steel vats, for a period of 12 to 24 hours. The resultant wash is then distilled through a copper pot still and the “heads” and the “tails” are separated, retaining only the noble part of the distillate, the “heart”.
Cachaça destined for ageing spends the first year in 10,000 litre balsam casks then transferred to 185 litre oak casks (French wine/cognac or Spanish sherry) to continue its maturation. Prior to bottling the cachaca undergoes filtration through cellulose filters (0.5 – 3 microns).