How a Dutch Geneva distillery in Schiedam has grown into a global player on the market for spirits.
In the beginning: Pieter and Herman
It is not Herman, but his great-grandfather Pieter who founded the company. In 1777, Pieter started a Dutch Geneva distillery and distillery in Schiedam. His Dutch jenever sold well; the foundations for the family business were laid. Herman’s business sense quickly took him beyond the Dutch borders. In 1895, he shipped the first freights of aromatic schnapps – a Dutch jenever derivative – to Africa, America and Asia. Herman was as enterprising as he was ingenious. Upon discovering that his glass supplier charged the competition a lower price, he built his own glass plant, UTO: Uit Tegenweer Opgericht (created out of protest).
A global company: years of expansion
Subsequent generations of the family have turned out to have the same inventiveness and business instinct as Herman. The company keeps growing and continue to conquer more and more markets. Smart alliances and takeovers have reinforced Herman Jansen’s position in the Netherlands and beyond. In the 1960s and 1970s, for instance, the company entered into a joint venture with the company K. Plantinga from Bolsward, took over the company F.J. Sonnema and later the company Gorter and merged with distillery Vlek & Co. from Delft. After this merger, Herman Jansen changed its name into UTO (Unaniem Tot Overeenstemming / Unanimous Agreement). The expansion gained momentum: the company continued to enter into joint ventures in more and more countries. The majority of the Dutch bottling was placed under the Avandis joint venture in Zoetermeer for efficiency reasons in 2001.
Herman Jansen in the 21st century
These joint ventures and takeovers have made us into what we are now: a global producer and distributor of a varied, modern range of spirits, wines and syrups. A modern enterprise with the most advanced production facilities at its disposal without losing the special character of a family business. Our strength still lies in providing good quality for a decent price. In order to express the fact that we are a family business more actively and that we take pride in this, we have been called Herman Jansen again since 2011. Meanwhile, the sixth generation of the Jansen family is in charge of the company.