Virå Bruks history
In the 17th century, Sweden was at war for long periods and cannons were used in the war. Wirå had large forests that were important in the production of iron. As early as 1638, Wirå received a letter of privilege for iron production from Queen Kristina. The main product produced was bar iron and in addition to the availability of forest, the availability of water was also important. The forest was needed to produce coal, which in turn was used to heat pig iron during processing into bar iron. The water was used to power the hammers, which had the task of driving away slag products from the iron.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Wirå was one of the larger ironworks in Sörmland. In 1860, Per August Enhörning bought Wirå and built up a working environment with a school, dairy, general store, new barn, poorhouse and new sawmill. The majority of the buildings still exist today, albeit with other uses. He also laid out a park with gravel paths for walking. It is said that Per August Enhörning, who did not live at Virå but at Stavsjö Bruk, decided that the gravel paths on both sides of Virån, every Friday, should be raked as far as you could see from the man farm building.
The glory period was relatively short-lived. As early as 1899, rebar production basically ceased. At the turn of the century, Virå was hit by the nun butterfly, which destroyed 1,000 hectares of the farm’s forest over the course of four years. The butterfly got its name from the black and white color, similar to a nun’s dress. A railway – the Nunnebanan – was built to transport timber between Virå and Bråviken.
Ernst Johansson, great-grandfather of the current owner, bought Virå in 1924. When the current owner Caesar Åfors took over the farm in 1986, six people were employed in forestry. Today there is only one part-time employee in the forest, but instead around ten full-time employees and around ten hourly employees in the experience industry that has developed on the farm. The property of 2200 hectares consists mostly of coniferous forests. With its active management, Virå has one of Sweden’s finest red deer populations. On the grounds there are also fallow deer, roe deer, moose and wild boar.
Modern history includes that in 2010 Virå Bruk built Sweden’s first indoor shooting range for real bullets and real shots. In 2012, the huntingstore was inaugurated, and in December of the same year a professional kitchen with six kitchen islands – Viltköket – with a focus on cooking venison from the forest’s own pantry as well as locally produced vegetables. At the same time, an investment in conferences was launched.
In 2013, the sale of real hunts was commercialized with a high quality concept and under convivial forms. In May 2014, Virå Sporting was inaugurated – a venture into shotgun shooting with two Compact Sporting courses and a Driven course. In the same year, Jaktcampen was rebuilt with new, fresh rooms and bathrooms as well as a larger hunting lodge with a glass veranda with a lake view for pleasant dinners. In addition, the huntingshop´s range was expanded with additional clothing brands, accessories and not least shotguns.
In 2018, the premises in the restaurant Viltköket were expanded and in the spring the Kvarnen venue was inaugurated, which provided additional opportunities for conferences and also for parties and weddings with slightly larger groups.