Wallpaper* visits the Ketel One Nolet Distillery in The Netherlands

When Wallpaper* visited the Nolet distillery near Rotterdam recently, we were hugely impressed by the fact that a super premium brand still employed hand-fired, copper pot stills (including the eponymous Pot Still Number 1, of course) alongside state-of-the-art bottling and packaging machinery, all in the shadow of a stunning windmill, authentic in every detail, but built by the Nolet family in 2005.

It’s a traditional example of Dutch engineering reimagined by the Nolets to generate green energy – modern and progressive thinking coming out of tradition and heritage. This is typical of the way Ketel One Vodka operates.

With ten generations of Nolet family distilling passion and expertise, the Ketel One Vodka brand was built on one-to-one conversations with the bartending community. Launched in the US in the early 1980s after Carolus Nolet Sr went to San Francisco and experienced the beginnings of the cocktail culture, it was clear to him an exciting new trend was emerging.

Nolet noticed that US vodkas were about what was on the outside of the bottle and sought to create a vodka all about what was on the inside. Inspired by his ancestors’ techniques and recipes, the distinctive taste of Ketel One Vodka took shape. The vodka, a product of 300 years of family distilling expertise and one individual’s creative vision, was named in the apparatus’ honour.