In the spirits industry, there are major players at every turn. Whether you are talking about the vodka sector of the industry, the competition is many and close together. With fierce competitors like Grey Goose and Belvedere vying for the top spot in the industry, that has brought out the best in Ketel One.
Ever since 1691, the original Ketel One distillery, Nolet Distillery, has been honing its craft. The advantageous location of being near the North Sea has brought great fortune to the brand. Carl Nolet Jr. is an 11th generation Nolet and is the one spearheading Ketel One’s operations in the United States. zoomdune.com was able to sit down with Carl to talk about the family business, Ketel One Vodka.
With so many competitors in the vodka market, quality is an undeniable influence on a company’s business. After all, if your product is not up to snuff, consumers will figure it out and your company won’t last. Carl spoke about the firm’s commitment to quality and being real with people.
“A main principal that has become a core value to us, after all those years is crafting great, quality tasting products that survive the test of time. People are always looking for great quality and great taste. Consumers want to support authentic brands that have a deeply rooted heritage like the products we produce,” Nolet said.
He went on to attribute the company’s authenticity to its continued success. Consumers want a product they can connect and identify with, and that’s what Carl believes Ketel One has done. Back in January of this year, the magazine Drinks International named Ketel One the Best Selling Vodka, in addition to being tagged as the second highest trending vodka. Nolet called the recognition “a true testament” to its quality.
Achieving success in any industry is one thing, but being able to sustain it over a long period time is another. One of the ingredients that goes a long way in any company’s success is its culture. Culture is responsible for many things that happen within a company and Nolet agrees it has been something that’s consistently mattered to his family. “As a family-owned business [culture] has been passed down from father to son for 11 generations, we employ four key principles in our daily business: passion, commitment, integrity and pride,” Nolet said.
You might think someone like Nolet was able to walk right into a corporate desk job whenever he wanted to, but he took a much less entitled path to get to where he is now. Originally beginning as a worker who polished copper, Nolet worked his way up from the bottom. “I got right to work scrubbing the copper with a towel and cleaning solution.” One of the first lessons he learned on the job was always to ask for help when unsure of what to do.
“The chemicals from the cleaning solution ended up dying my hands green! I was told from the Master Distiller, ‘If you would have asked, I would have told you to use gloves when you polish copper.’ The green color didn’t come off for days,” Nolet said.
Once 1992 rolled around, Nolet made the journey to the United States where he cut his teeth as someone who taught bartenders about Ketel One. Understanding the company’s history was important to Nolet, so he wouldn’t sell the product until those purchasing it had a firm grasp on the company’s story. “The bartenders then went through the ‘Ketel One Vodka Taste Test’ and experienced firsthand ‘The Four F’s’ of Ketel One Vodka – Fragrance, Flavor, Feel and Finish,” Nolet said.
Finally, when it comes down to just how good a product is, taste is something that is undeniable and unarguable. “I also believe that our authenticity is a trait that is very impactful and resonates with consumers not just in the US but around the world,” Nolet said. For those who are ever near the distillery in Schiedam, Holland, Ketel One openly and willingly gives tours. It truly seems like a grand way to immerse yourself in a company’s culture and history, that’s why brewery and winery tours are so popular.
We’d like to thank Carl Nolet Jr. for taking the time to speak with us about Ketel One Vodka. For more on the company’s heritage, you can head on over to their website.