When Joannes Nolet opened the doors of his distillery in the Dutch town of Schiedam in 1691, he could never have foreseen the story that was to unfold over the next 325 years – one that was to result in the creation of Ketel One vodka, served at top bars in more than 75 countries around the world.
Much has changed since then, but much too has remained constant: not least the involvement of the Nolet family. Now the 10th and 11th generations are responsible for honouring the legacy that Joannes left.
‘There aren’t many alcoholic beverage makers who can look back over the past 300 years, put their hands on their hearts and say: “Our family inspired this,”’ says master distiller Bob Nolet, whose father, Carolus Nolet, created Ketel One. ‘To us, family is everything; it makes us who we are today and, as we’ve grown, so has our global family, which now includes talented bartenders from across the world who share their passion for quality vodka.’
No mere chance led Joannes Nolet to Schiedam. Located close to the river Maas and busy North Sea ports, the town was home to one of Holland’s biggest grain markets, providing essential raw materials for the crafting of fine spirits. It even became known as a ‘capital of spirits’, with the Nolet distillery now the oldest facility still in the hands of its founding family.
Even today, only the finest European winter wheat is used to make every bottle of Ketel One vodka and – just to make sure that standards never dip – a member of the Nolet family personally approves each production run before it leaves the distillery.
Of course, this year’s anniversary could not be allowed to pass without a party. ‘As the Nolet Distillery turns 325, our family will throw a celebration with a difference at the distillery in Schiedam, to be enjoyed by more than 400 VIP guests from across the world,’ says Bob Nolet. ‘Bars, friends and family across the globe will celebrate the occasion with a Dutch “proost” – a global toast, where we will see everybody using #Proost325.’
Also marking the occasion is the release of a special edition Ketel One bottle, the copper colour of which pays tribute to the role that copper pot distillation plays in creating Ketel One.
The bottle’s decoration is inspired by the ironwork above the distillery entrance, while 11 coins decorate the sides and back of the bottle, each representing one of the 11 generations of Nolet family distillers – a symbol of Ketel One’s heritage, and the Nolet family’s determination to evolve, expand and improve on Joannes Nolet’s enduring legacy.