De Kuyper, the largest premium cocktail liqueur brand in the world, whose success can partly be contributed to Prohibition in the 1920s United States.
Petrus De Kuyper founded the company in 1695 with the aim of manufacturing barrels and casks used in the transportation of spirits and beer. In 1752, their son expanded the family business and acquired a distillery in Schiedam which at the time was the centre of the production of gin in the Netherlands. They made a shift in the company’s activities to the production of gin. Some time later, they bought a second distillery in Rotterdam.
After the expansion, the De Kuypers became the biggest distillers in the city. However, their ambitions were bigger than that – by the 19th century they were exporting their products to other parts of Europe and even across the Atlantic. America quickly became their main market, as the Dutch gin, also known as jenever, was very well received there. When Prohibition was introduced in the USA in 1920, De Kuyper tried to sell alcohol-free gin there. This, however, was unsuccessful, and they had to smuggle alcohol into the country.
As for their official activity, they had to think of something else. Thus, in the 1920s, De Kuyper entered the cocktail liqueur market for the first time. They came out with almost 20 varieties including Apricot Brandy, Cherry Brandy, Triple Sec, Créme de Menthe. Once Prohibition came to an end, De Kuyper’s liqueurs really took off in the US, and, in the following decades, due to the success of their cocktails, liqueurs took the lead over gins. A smart marketing strategy also had a role in it, as De Kuyper organised the world’s first cocktail-making competition to market its products.
The cocktail liqueurs of De Kuyper are popular all over the world – they are sold in more than 100 countries. In addition to cocktail liqueurs, De Kuyper also owns such internationally renowned brands as Peachtree and Mandarine Napoléon.
To mark the company’s 300th anniversary in 1995, De Kuyper was granted the designation ‘Royal’ by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix. The company then changed their official name to De Kuyper Royal Distillers. After all these years, De Kuyper Royal Distillers is still a family business.
WHY DE KUYPER?
Dedicated to cocktails
De Kuyper is a symbol of cocktail liqueurs – they have more than 100 years of experience in the production of liqueurs, what is more, they came up with the world’s first cocktail competition.
Well-established but innovative
The family business has been in operation for more than 300 years, combining traditional expertise with modern innovation. “We’re still young at heart!” they declare on their website.
Tiny Netherlands in a big world
For years, De Kuyper has been among the three best-selling liqueur brands in the world, and the only one with an actual royal title.