Dr. Berndt Finke has a job that inspires the envy of food scientists, spirits geeks, and frat boys alike. He's the head of sourcing and manufacturing for the cult liquor company Jägermeister—and one of only six people alive who knows the entire secret recipe to one of the world's most complex and heady alcohols.
Working out of the company's headquarters in Wölfenbuttel, a town in northern Germany, Dr. Finke runs Jägermeister laboratories and the quality control of its factories. But the position also requires jet-setting to countries in South America, Africa, and Asia, where the scientist searches for the botanicals used to produce that coveted sauce. His task is straightforward: Make sure the world never goes short of its best-selling liqueur. But there are plenty of challenges, from Mother Nature's unpredictability to searching for a top secret spice in Costa Rica.
MUNCHIES talked to the doc about his spice-hunting expeditions and all the intricate elements that go into a Jägerbomb's better half.
MUNCHIES: So how does one become Jägermeister's leading scientist? Dr. Berndt Finke: I studied nutritional science and wanted to continue working with biological substances and natural substances from plants. My former jobs have actually been in charge of biological research for baby food companies. I worked for one of the largest producers of baby food in Europe, testing the properties of human milk. We used around 2,000 liters of breast milk to develop formula ... to protect infants against infections and weaken the development of allergies.
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