Inside the old Maison Pernod Fils Factory

After the banning of absinthe and the demise of Pernod Fils, the huge Pernod factory, once the pride of industrial France, was used as a field hospital during the First World War. In 1919 the premises were bought by a chocolate manufacturer whose business was subsequently taken over by the Swiss food giant Nestlé. The factory has been used continuously by Nestlé ever since, originally for the manufacture of chocolates, but now primarily for the production of Strawberry and Banana Nesquik for export to the UK market. Around 350 Nestlé employees, mainly locals from Pontarlier, work there – some are the great-great-grandchildren of ancestors who worked for Pernod Fils.

Much of the older part of the factory is shuttered and unused, as the Nestlé production lines are concentrated in new purpose-built facilities behind the original buildings. The entire factory is generally off-limits to visitors, and these are the first published photos in the modern era showing the interior of the old Pernod alambic halls. The actual alambics were removed many decades ago – some were purchased by the Combier distillery in Saumur where they are now again being used a century later to make absinthe for Jade Liqueurs!


The old Pernod alambic halls and storage facilities, now largely unused and derelict in places.


Views looking out from the famous towers at the corners of the original factory and above the interior of the towers.


The bridge over the Doubs River behind the factory.