Distilling began with the Arabs, resulting in the drink Al-Koh’l, a recipe of flowers and water.
Possibly also the origin of our word “Alcohol.
From the 11th – 12th centuries, technology spread throughout the world.
Over the centuries, various beverages were created that were linked to specific countries:
The Russians developed Vodka from potatoes, the Irish/Scotts Whisky from malt.
In Scandinavia, the famous/infamous Aqua-Vit.
The Spanish also spread the technique toward South Markia, to create Tequila.
In Frace the Cognac came into being, and of course our ‘own’, Dutch courage… Jenever (Gin).
This fascinating Master Distiller has a remarkable life history in which his love of distilling and brewing took him all over the world.
John began in the 1970s as a hobby brewer of Dutch and Belgian specialty beers.
From the beginning, the many experimental beers he brewed in his spare time found eager favour with his friends and family.
In the early 1990s, the microbrew industry took off in the USA and they tried to brew real Belgian beers there as well. Its results were, to put it mildly, “open to improvement”.
Through the intermediary of a number of these American microbrew pioneers, John came in contact with them and in a short time he became the expert on brewing Belgian specialty beers, in the USA
He was often flown in as a consultant, on-site to streamline microbrew operations and perfect the product.
Through this experience, he became well acquainted the American beer and beverage market.
But after several years, John was ready for something else.
Around 1995, he moved to the Caribbean to set up a new brewery of his own.
This brewery handled exports to the Americas as well as to the local market.
During this period, he developed numerous new beer types including the then locally famous “Salsa” and “Pirata” beers.
“Pirata” was the first specialty beer to which rum was added; “cervez con rum Caribe” that was marketed throughout the Caribbean and the USA.
In 1999, he sold his brewery and returned to the Netherlands, where at that time interest in microbreweries began to take serious shape.
He started another brewery and John’s award-winning beers were sold mainly to his 2nd home America.
During his time in the Caribbean, John had experimented with distilling spirits a bit.
Up to that point it had always been secondary to beer brewing.
After he also sold the Dutch brewery back to a business partner in 2011, it started to itch again.
Because of his lifelong love for special whisky, he started his current distillery in Lelystad, the Netherlands.
In the beginning, however, the focus was on making primal Dutch jenever and gin, among other things. This paid the distillery rent until his new whisky had aged for at least 3 years.