1 What sets Royal Dutch Distillers (RDD) apart?
RDD is a 100% subsidiary to DeKuyper Royal Distillers. DeKuyper is a global, family-owned company, and they wanted to make their mark here in the US with their premium spirits portfolio. I think it’s the spirits and the people that we have within this organization that set us apart. We’re very meticulous in how we go to market. We’re hyper focused in markets like Miami, New York City, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Austin. I have a team of about 14 people across the country, and I’m fortunate that I got to build this team. When you’ve been doing something as long as I have, I’ve come across some pretty phenomenal people in this industry, and I sold them the vision that I had and the opportunity to do something special here. This company is only as good as the people around me because they’re really the ones doing the hard work out there. It’s been a beautiful thing to watch this bloom as we go, and it’s probably been the best culture that I’ve been around in this industry.
2 What’s led to the growth of genever?
Over the past five years or so,
gin, and also genever more recently, have become the ultimate craft spirits for bartenders to play with. I say that because gins and genevers are distilled from a variety of botanicals—the flavor profiles are endless, and bartenders really have an appreciation for that. What’s interesting about genever is it’s like if gin and whiskey had a baby, it would be called genever. I can’t wait for the average consumer to recognize and understand that. Part of our job is to get that out to the consumer and the bartenders. We need people to start asking about it and tasting it. Let’s really build this category into something special.
3 Tell readers about your liqueurs.
A lot of low-ABV cocktails are trending. Italian liqueurs and amaros seem to be at the forefront here, and we have a beautiful product called Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto liqueur. It’s bergamot, which is a cross between a lemon and an orange. Mixologists are embracing it and making spritzes, they’re doing white Negronis with it, they’re even mixing it with beer cocktails. We also just launched Bébo, which is a Cuban coffee liqueur. The response to it has been phenomenal. What’s unique about Bebo is it’s extremely coffee forward. Some of the core coffee liqueurs are very sweet and syrupy and then you get a hint of coffee. This is the opposite—when you drink it, it’s like drinking espresso.
4 How does RDD choose brands to develop/add to its portfolio?
Whether it’s a new brand that we create or a partnership brand, we really look at something that fits the portfolio. The global vision for DeKuyper is “own the cocktail,” and that’s really what we’re trying to do. We’ve got some amazing brands here and some really unique taste profiles. More than anything, we want to provide the consumers and bartenders with fantastic products to make fantastic cocktails with. We’re looking for unique brands, something that’s different, of high quality, and something that’s going to resonate with the consumers and bartenders.
5 Anything new coming from RDD?
We have a number of other things in the pipelines in Holland. We’re looking to add two other genever SKUs to our portfolio in the near future. One’s a younger genever, and one’s an older aged genever.
6 Any advice for bar owners?
If there’s any overall advice I can give it’s that I think bartenders need to have strong conviction and passion for the drinks they’re making, mixing, and serving. That’s what we’re all about too. When we go in and we meet bar owners and bartenders, you can tell who really is passionate about their craft. If I was a bar owner, that’s exactly what I would look for in a bartender, mixologist, or any employee—somebody who has passion and wants to create really unique and special great-tasting cocktails.
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