Rum Guide to The Netherlands 2024

 

 

Rum Guide to The Netherlands 2024

 

Gateway of the Rum World

Reading time: 11 minutes 

The geography of the Netherlands is defined by its low-lying, reclaimed land with a network of lakes, rivers, and canals. There are over 250 km of sandy beaches and magnificent dunes (no sandworms) to explore. 

Shaped by a challenging landscape, the Netherlands’ history with rum is rooted in its geography. Centuries of managing its waterways led to skilled seafaring people. This propelled them to become dominant global traders in the 1600s.

The Dutch East Indies Company controlled trade in Asia for spices and had a base in Batavia in present-day Jakarta, Indonesia. Batavia Arrack is a spirit made from sugarcane that was transported back to Europe and became the darling of American cocktail recipes in the golden era. It is still made to this day. In 1600s Brazil, the Dutch refined plantation systems with windmills to process sugarcane. The Dutch then traded north and colonised the Caribbean islands of Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba.

The Dutch played a pivotal role in bringing rum to Europe. Like other northern European countries, sugarcane doesn’t grow here, but it became a crucial hub for trade. Expertise in distilling jenever/gin, and brandy, and perfecting the art of blending rum has secured their reputation in the rum industry. Today, the Netherlands is the second largest importer of rum in the world.

However, until now, very few people talk of the rum being produced in The Netherlands. There are well over 20 rum brands, about half are distilleries, and the others are independent bottlers or non-distiller producers. With such an abundance of bulk rum in bond, you can understand why it’s a good place to start a rum brand here. We start our tour in the north of the Netherlands.

north Netherlands

North Netherlands

Glacier-sculpted plains meet the North Sea in the north. Once fuelled by peat, the land thrives on agriculture and Groningen’s maritime port city is now a vibrant university town (with some good rum bars to explore).

grondel rum

Grondel Distillery

Grondel Distillery was founded by Marc Grondel in 2019, after being inspired by spending time in Central America. It’s a small distillery focusing on rum in the north, a small town called Adorp just north of Groningen.

ferment, distill, mature, and bottle the rum themselves. They have opened a liquor store Slijterij Grondel, you can visit on Friday afternoons between 1pm- 5pm, and on Saturdays from 11am to 5pm.

Grondel Copper Seal (Fifth edition) is fermented, double distilled, and matured for 2.5 years in French oak barrels. Grondel White Rum is rested for 2 months. You can find these rums in bars in nearby Groningen.

Wieke Distillery

Wieke Distillers

Wieke Distillers in Groningen was founded in 2019. They are on their second batch release of Kapitein Jonker Barrel Aged Rum, it’s made from organic sugarcane molasses from Paraguay.

It is a barrel-aged rum that has matured in a cognac barrel and a virgin heavy toasted American oak barrel. Kapitein Jonker is inspired by one of the most famous sailors from Veendam. You’ll find their rum at Slijterij Frans Muthert & Dramtime in nearby Musselkanaal if in the area.

dubhglas distillery

Dubhghlas Distillery

Dubhghlas Distillery started as a whisky club in Zwartsluis, then moonshine, and now various spirits including rum.

Dubhghlas is an old Scottish word for black water, and the name of the river where Zwartsluis is located. They produce rum from sugarcane molasses, Dubhghlas Merchant Navy Rum is single casks at merchant navy strength, aged for 16 months in Oloroso and PX Sherry casks.

Kintra Spirits

Kintra Spirits was founded in 2009 in the old historical town of Deventer. As an independent bottler, Kintra Spirits presents The Rum Mercenary, Sample Eleven Blended Rum, and Sample X is a single estate and single cask rum.

Drumlin Distillery

Drumlin Distillery in Havelte was set up as a whisky and gin distillery but also makes Prosperity 1000 Day Rum, which is distilled in copper stills and aged for 1000 days in an oak barrel that once held a red fortified wine.

amsterdam

Central Netherlands

Iconic canals of Amsterdam weave through the low-lying city. The land transitions from the North Sea’s sandy coast to fertile polders (land-enclosed dikes) ideal for agriculture.

E A Scheer

E & A Scheer

E&A Scheer in Amsterdam has been a key player in the rum trade for centuries. Founded in 1712, they began by transporting rum from the Caribbean to Europe. Today, and specialise in blending bulk rum for brands worldwide. They source rums from over 40 distilleries, including Rum, Cachaça & Batavia Arrack. They are one of the world’s largest suppliers of bulk rum.

E&A Scheer’s expertise lies in understanding rum and creating customised blends. They source rum from over 25 producers in 15 countries, offering a vast selection for their clients. Through a meticulous development process, they work closely with customers to achieve their desired rum profile.

Blending rum requires a skilled blender and E&A Scheer’s master blenders use their experience and knowledge to create unique and consistent blends, ensuring quality even in large quantities.

E&A Scheer was recently bought over, and looks to seek new partnerships in rum-producing regions to maintain a reliable supply chain and cater to the growing global demand for rum. If you want to start your own brand and bottle rum, they can be visited by appointment.

ODB Beverages

Founded in 1658 Distilleerderij Onder de Boompjes in Leiden, it’s now based in Schiedam as a contract distiller for private labels, they provide over 60 brand owners with unique rum blends. The rum comes from E&A Scheer, and they specialise in custom-made blends. They’ve developed more than 100 flavours for spiced rums.

A Van Wees de Ooievaar

A Van Wees De Ooievaar is the only craft distillery left in Amsterdam and originated in 1883. They make a variety of spirits and present Bali Rhum Esprit, and Bali Rhum with rum from Jamaica. You can visit the family-owned store and learn about the spirits.

spirited union distillery

Spirited Union Distillery

Spirited Union Distillery was founded in Amsterdam in 2017 as the world’s first botanical rum company. They have a new craft distillery and cocktail bar offering workshops ranging from making cocktails to distilling your own botanical spirit. It’s open on weekends and outside production hours.

“Growing up on the Caribbean Island of Aruba, and working in the best bars and restaurants, one day I looked around and was disappointed to see so many artificially flavoured and sickly-sweet Rum on the market. This led to our mission to bring back quality and creativity into the rum market.

Using Bonsucro credited Rum and infusing them with high-quality, responsibly sourced natural Botanicals. By creating the Botanical Rum category we’ve developed a fresh, vibrant, and new type of Rum that looks beyond tradition.” Ruben Maduro – founder.

They believe that spirits and botanicals should be delicious and fresh, and made it their mission to unite these two and create a colourful and refreshing new world for rum. Spirited Union sources single-origin rums and botanicals from across the globe. The core botanical range includes; Lemon & Leaf, Queen Pineapple & Spice, Spice & Sea Salt, Pink Grapefruit & Rose, and Organic Coconut. There are also limited editions and reserve collections.

spirited union

Rummieclub

Rummieclub was started in December 2019 by couple Judith & Martijn and was Amsterdam’s modern craft rum distillery. They distilled small batch rums with a range of Rummieclub Colourful White rum, Overproof, Barrel Aged, and Spiced rum. Kyrië was a Netherlands cane juice rum using imported Vietnam sugarcane juice and pot distilled.

Rummieclub recently announced its closure and distilled its last rum in April. They made a lasting impression on the Dutch scene as a craft rum producer experimenting with homegrown yeast strains and different ferments and sharing their journey. On 1st June 2024, they close the doors of the production unit. After that, Rummieclub will continue as a brand and may release new editions in the future, as they still have some casks in stock.

mates rum

MATES Rum

MATES Rum is a dynamic Dutch brand of naturally blended rums. They aim to share top-quality rums that enhance moments with friends (Mates). Using natural blended, additive-free rum, the Gold Rum 3- 5-year-old rum from Barbados and the Dominican Republic with a subtle trace of Jamaican Pot Still Rum. Last year they extended the rum range with a White and XO Rum next to the Gold Rum.

In 2024, they create an exciting collaboration with Michelin chef Jermain de Rozario and Gault&Milau, the best bar in the Netherlands; The Rumah to launch the Mates Arrack project. This unique blend combines traditional Batavia Arrack from Indonesia with their Gold Rum, reflecting heritage and mastery of creating diverse flavors.

This project not only shows commitment to reviving ancient spirits but also integrates the philosophy of balance, embodying the idea that opposites depend on each other to exist, like joy and sorrow or day and night. As they move forward, they plan to share Mates rum across the world.

Navy Island Rum

Navy Island Rum Company is an independent bottler based in Amsterdam established in 2016. Navy Island is a small tropical island off the coast of Port Antonio, Jamaica. The location of Navy Island is the inspiration behind the brand name. Navy Island Jamaica XO Reserve is a blend of aged pot distilled rum.  Navy Island Navy Strength Rum is blended from 11 small batch distilled rums of different ages and presented at 57%.

1731 Fine & Rare

1731 Fine & Rare is a unique collection of rums from the Caribbean and South America. An independent bottler based in Amsterdam. Called 1731, was the year that the British Royal Navy started offering its sailors a daily tot. The 1731 collection consists of 3 unique regional rum blends and 3 unique single-origin rums ranging from Central America to the tip of the South American continent. All the rums are 100% tropical-aged at the distilleries and bottled in the Netherlands.

By the Dutch

This brand is based in Schiedam since 2015, and they have a range of spirits including By the Dutch Aged Indonesian Rum Batavia Arrack made from pot-distilled molasses and produced on the island of Java, Indonesia. It’s aged and blended in Amsterdam, and bottled in Schiedam.

The Melchers Group

The Melchers Group has a history going back to 1877. They produces Rembrandt Spirits Masterpiece white rum & Golden Dark rum, both rums come from the Caribbean and bottled in the Netherlands.

Nijmegen

East Netherlands

Rolling hills and forests rise from the flatlands, while the mighty Rhine River carves its path through the region and moves towards Germany.

The Little Distiller – Ultimatum Rum

The Little Distiller Ultimatum Rum by Van Wees Holland has been blending and releasing rum since 2016. They bottle the Ultimatum Rum as single cask selections and rum blends, called the UltimatuM blended rum.

Graanbranderij de IJsvogel

IJsvogel distillery

Graanbranderij De IJsvogel distillery was founded in 1993 near the German border. Now on their 2nd bottling, they are the first and only rum distilled in Limburg. Fermented and distilled from cane sugar syrup. Aged for 21 months in an ex-Plantation Rum barrel from Jamaica. Kingfisher Arcenian Rum. Open every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

schotman rum

Schotman Rum

In 2021, Schotman Rum launched the world’s first patented Peated Rum. “Peated Rum did not exist until today. Intensive research showed that it is truly unique and that is why Schotman was able to apply for a patent on it. Schotman is the only one in the world who can and is allowed to make it. The sugar cane raw materials are smoked over a blend of German and Irish peat, then fermented, and then distilled. The rum is distilled with a pot and column still and has no additives.

Schotman produces rum based on molasses with natural fermentation. The fermentation tanks are located outside in the beautiful Achterhoek, the east of the Netherlands. The extremely long fermentation of up to 6 months gives the rum an exceptional aroma. The wash has been left outside at 10 to 30 C, with a different type of yeast taking over each time. This means that this rum has an extremely complex flavour profile that cannot be found in any other rum. Schotman is also original in this.

In addition to their flagship Peated Rum, Schotman Barrel Selection is a single cask bottling, which is available in an extremely limited edition. These are also with no additives and presented at cask strength. Schotman will soon sell barrels of rum.

Toorank International Spirits

In Zevenaar, eastern Netherlands, Toorank International Spirits has origins going back to 1978. A contract bottler, and present brands; Mabooze Dutch rum, and Rebellion Ron Blanco Rum, a rum from Trinidad.

south netherlands

South Netherlands

From South Holland & Zeeland coast, waterways, the Kinderdijk windmills and Schiedam, the historic town is known for its jenever production, and has the five largest windmills of the world. The Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, hosted the Dutch East India Company and subsequent rum trade.

bottle distillery eindhoven

Bottle Distillery

In the centre of Eindhoven in the De Caai district is Bottle Distillery, founded in 2016 by Mark and Dianne Migchels. Lucky Bastard Treasure no. 4 is their latest limited-edition aged rum, traditionally distilled with organic molasses. It’s a combination of ageing in Oloroso sherry barrels and small American oak barrels. Bottle Distillery also ferments, distills & bottles the Mary Read Rum spiced rum named after a legendary female pirate, Mary Read. You can visit Bottle Distillery’s onsite bar restaurant open on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

zuidam distillers

Zuidam Distillers

Zuidam Distillers located in the province of Brabant in the south near Belgium, was founded in 1975. This family distillery is well known for its whisky and Jenever. However, they produce a diverse range of amber and white rums, as well as rum-based liqueurs. The Flying Dutchman Rum has a long fermentation with multiple strains of yeast, and it was double distilled in pot stills before being filled in Pedro Ximénez casks, where it rested for four years.

The distillery is in Baarle-Nassau, the most complicated border town in the world, so don’t get lost if planning to visit!

Wenneker Distilleries

Wenneker Distilleries

Wenneker Distilleries has origins going back to 1693 in Roosendaal, southern Netherlands. Family-owned, it’s one of the oldest Dutch spirits companies making liqueurs, gin, genever, and rum. Wenneker White & Dark Rum, and Bucatiki Spiced Rum Pacific style rum are their brands.

Dutch Head Premium Rum

Founded in 2020 in Breda, inspired on trips to Italy, and Spain. The Dutch Head Premium Rum range includes; The Bastard (with a touch of caster sugar known as basterd sugar in Dutch). The Danny Vera, The RAW made to be mixed, and The Collector’s edition, single cask rum from the original barrel and at least 30 years of age. The rum comes from the Caribbean and Central America.

Distilleerderij Van Toor

Distilleerderij Van Toor is a Dutch craft distillery founded in 1883, located in the city of Vlaardingen, just west of Rotterdam. They specialise in the production of s, including rum, and have the historical brand Grünerwald Batavia Arrack. Batavia Arrack is not classed as rum although it is made with sugarcane as it’s base. Red rice is added to the molasses in fermentation, and it’s aged in large teak vats.

Maastricht Drinks in Villapark in Maastricht produces JKR Rum, a spiced rum named after the river Jeker.

The Duchess Spirits is an independent bottler founded in 2016 by whisky and rum specialists with collections of rum single cask bottlings; Tropical reef fish series, Tropical hummingbird series, and Tropical flower series.

netherlands rum map

In summary, there’s a lot of rum bottled in the Netherlands, not all are distilleries you can visit, but you can check out their profiles to discover more and use our map to plan your next vacation to the Netherlands.

rum bar utrecht

Pro Tip: The country of windmills, tulips, and canals has so much more to offer rum lovers – cool rum experiences are just waiting to be discovered. Liquor stores in the Netherlands are an Aladdin’s cave of rum finds at great prices because of their location as a logistical hub.

We recommend popping in a local bar and even checking if there’s a local rum tasting like a rum flight in Rum Club in Utrecht (pictured) or The Rumah bar in Rotterdam worth seeking out. There’s Rum Barrel, and Rum Barrel West in Amsterdam. For a taste of Suriname try Paramaribar in Haarlem. In these spots, you’ll be able to try many of the rums mentioned in this article.

In the Dutch Caribbean, called the ABC islands you visit distilleries, check out our map, and Bonaire Rum Week 2024 is in June 

The Gin & Rum Festival 2024 is 11th May in Utrecht or 25th May in Rotterdam if you are in these cities.

You can learn more about the Netherlands’ historic involvement in slavery by visiting museums, and exhibitions like the Rijksmuseum & Slavery, National Maritime Museum, and Afterlives of Slavery at Wereldmuseum Amsterdam.

Don’t forget to sip your Dutch rum with a Stroopwafel, or local Gouda cheese!

Here’s a more general tourism resource on The Netherlands

And, here’s our Netherlands Rum Map

Thanks to the brand owners who contributed to this article for their insights.

Image credits to the rum producers, Canva Pro, and user contributions.

South Holland beach

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Scroll to Top

Age verification

You must be 21+ years of age to access this website.