Ketel One is produced by the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, the Netherlands. The Nolet Distillery was founded in 1691, and has remained in the Nolet family ever since. Ketel One is so named for the original coal-fired copper still that was used to distill it, Distilleerketel #1.
This weekend at the world’s biggest bartender competition the bartender’s favourite vodka – Ketel One – unveiled some of the possibilities that could make the drinks world a more sustainable and better place. While the world is catching on to sustainable straws, the family-made vodka believes there’s much more the drinks industry can do.
At the prestigious World Class competition, this year hosted in Berlin, a bar made from reclaimed wood and recycled furniture; chairs made from repurposed plastic bottles, old DVDs and scrapped mobile phones once destined for landfill; tables made from pressed yoghurt pots; and, of course, a Ketel One Bloody Mary made with locally sourced ingredients – critically home-grown, not flown – encourages people and bartenders to think about how preparing their drink can help them do better.
The commitment to ‘better’ doesn’t stop there – Ketel One aims to inspire bartenders around the world to re-think the recipes of their most popular drinks to have a more positive impact on their communities. Espresso Martinis, Bloody Marys, Vodka and Sodas and Dutch Mules are all reimagined using reduced waste, natural ingredients and locally sourced garnishes to enhance their flavors.
The move reflects a wider shift in culture which has seen people drinking less but drinking better, seeking out brands that are sustainable or endeavoring to have a positive impact on the world around them.
Alexandre Rodrigues, Global Brand Director of Ketel One explained why they are so invested in this shift: “People are increasingly looking for premium refinement and quality that’s down to earth, simple and honest. This search for ‘better’ isn’t just with ingredients, but with experiences and a brand’s impact on society as a whole.
“Cultural consciousness has been at the heart of Ketel One, that’s why we decided to help inspire bartenders and bars around the world about how they can offer an even better drinking experience.”
The real surprise is, far from looking like a craft project, the drinks and sustainable bar wouldn’t be out of place in any of the world’s top bars. Bob Nolet, the 11th generation of the Nolet family – the creators of Ketel One – explained why he is so passionate about inspiring bartenders and bars on this movement:
“My family has been distilling spirit since 1691 and from that moment we have always sought the perfect balance between a commitment to taste, a commitment to bartenders and a commitment to the world around us.
“We built the world’s largest windmill to help power our distillery and our family still tastes and approves every batch of vodka before it leaves our distillery to ensure the highest quality standards. We want to encourage bartenders to have the same attitude: always deliver the best drinks they can while also having a positive impact on their communities – this is what motivates me and my family every day.”
Johann Bödecker, Pentatonic Founder and CEO, who helped co-create the Ketel One sustainable bar said: “Pentatonic collaborates with consumer brands worldwide. Whether it’s consumer electronics, fashion or automotive, shifting to a circular model that avoids waste and reutilises post-consumer materials is a high priority for all forward-thinking consumer brands.
“Together with our brand partners we are making real progress by changing materials, processes and most importantly habits. Working with Ketel One to do just that has been brilliant. The drinks industry is growing fast and if we can take a lead in showing other industries how to turn waste into something that improves customer experiences and business practices, then we’re starting to make a difference.”
Both the Ketel One sustainable bar and ‘Better’ serves will be used to inspire bartenders around the world over the next year.