Dubbed the “Creative Kitchen”, the extension to the Dutch liqueurs and spirits group's Schiedam facility will be used to experiment with new fruit, spices and herb extractions and distillations, and bring together the production, R&D and marketing arms of its business in one space.
The family-owned group has not disclosed the size of the investment behind the expansion but speaking to Drinks International at De Kuyper’s launch event in Schiedam, group CEO, Ben van Doesburgh described the outlay as "very big" and said it was "an important reason why De Kuyper is going to last another 300 years".
All of its 43-liqueur range – except its peppermint variant – will also be produced using the new copper pot stills, the smallest of which will be used to extract the flavours from softer, more delicate herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Other spirits, such as gin and whisky could also be on the production agenda in the future. The group already produces No.3 gin from one of three older stills at the facility, though made under licence for Berry Brothers and Rudd.
Van Doesburgh said: “We are not afraid of making these strategic decisions –our company is 300 years old and used to be a geneva company. It wasn’t until the 80s we changed to become a cordial company.
“With whisky, the question is one of ageing - it’s a lot of capital so it is high risk. Gin probably makes more sense - we already make the best gin in the world: No.3 for Berry Brothers.”
“The barrier to entry is much lower with gin than whisky but then the gin market is more competitive, you have to take on the big boys."
It is the first time De Kuyper has repacked its liqueurs range in 18 years.
Albert de Heer, global marketing director, told Drinks International that there had been “no complaints” about the existing packaging but that the group “wanted to modernise”.
He said: “One thing we did not want to change was the long neck so we keep the same grip [for bartending]. We think the packaging conveys quality, authority and authenticity. It has richer embossing and would look good anywhere, especially in a bar and a hotel.”