Through my travels around the world, I am most inspired when getting to know brands that not only stand for quality business and excellence, but those who also preserve their family traditions and legacy. Especially when, generation after generation and beyond, they are surviving and thriving even, while overcoming economic depressions, changes in popularity (by era), technology and much more. This is why today, I would like to take you on a Ketel One distillery tour an even further to enjoy an exclusive look inside of how one family, The Nolet’s, created and continue to maintain high quality products in the spirits industry, called Ketel One Vodka and Nolet’s Finest Gins (Nolet Gin.)
The Nolet Distillery | Ketel One Distillery Tour
As an outsider, I received a rare opportunity to experience a private and exclusive tour of The Nolet Distillery, makers of Ketel One Vodka and Nolet’s Finest Gins, in Schiedam, Holland. In 2016, the family had just celebrated their 325th year anniversary with a special limited edition bottle of Ketel One Vodka; the celebration included a huge red carpet (with a Grammy nominee, Soul Singer Leon Bridges in attendance) and many other surprises.
But the real highlight of the evening was getting to see where a famous product like Ketel One Vodka was born and how this family has preserved a successful business for 11 generations.
A look inside a family business going strong even after 11 generations!
The Nolet Family Secrets
From father-to-son, for 11 generations, the Nolet Family has embraced an unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation in distilling the world’s finest spirits. According to Carl Jr., there are several secrets to running a family business, including “The family creed which is ‘Try not to make mistakes.’ And the word is try is in there because we all make mistakes but at least if we try not to make any BIG ones. Also, we genuinely like each other as a family.” Lastly, he shared that “We live by our three words: Fire, Family and Future! That’s how Bob and I are grooming the 12th generation – our kids.”
As impressive as the family is, and what I learned about the distillery process (that started in 1691) was very interesting, but I was most surprised to learn that they are still currently use a “secret recipe,” passed down from generation to generation, with such pride and attention to detail. I did try to learn more about this recipe, but it did not work out. In all seriousness, it is impressive seeing the empire they have built. But the Nolet family is not the only members proud of their product. I found that they instill that same pride and quality into their bartenders as well! One thing they have in common, the precision and painstaking attention to detail, as their bartenders continually focus on finding the right mix of quality ingredients to create the perfect cocktail. Having sampled several cocktails that evening, I can personally attest to their remarkable talent!
Ketel One Vodka Cocktails
Through their newest campaign (Ketel One Vodka Celebrates The Meticulous Attention To Detail That Bartenders Go To For The Perfect Cocktail), Ketel One Vodka highlights a bartender’s obsessive attention to detail, as well as the witty and charismatic style of today’s bartending community. The Nolet family often goes to extreme and (sometimes) absurd lengths to maintain perfection, to keep a family legacy alive. And like the Nolet family – for elite bartenders, no detail is too small. Of course, for any cocktail to be successful, it’s the quality of the alcohol used that’s the foundation upon which other flavors are built. A great bartender knows the difference!
Of course, on the cutting edge of innovation and technology, Ketel One introduced a Virtual Reality cutting edge experience that transports users into the heart of the world’s most trending vodka. Similar to my personal tour, consumers (including those tech savvy millennials) can now step into the lively streets of Schiedam, Holland, take a tour of the Nolet Family Distillery, and engage in an immersive cocktail demonstration guided by Master Mixologist, Dale DeGroff. Join me on an adventure to Schiedam, Holland! While personal travel is the best experience, you can use your imagination and technology to preview this experience from the comfort of your home. Try it today!!!