Van Toor Distillery
Tasty Tales

Van Toor Distillery

The Netherlands

"The bridal tears in this liqueur used to be sad. Today they're tears of joy..."

Classic distillery

Van Toor distillery is a true craft distillery, located in the city of Vlaardingen, just west of Rotterdam. This traditional small distillery was established in 1883 and on its 125th anniversary in 2008 it became Purveyor to the Royal Household. It is well known for it’s traditional spirits like Boerenjongens, Bruidstranen, Advocaat, Kandeel and Schelvispekel, a fisherman’s drink, that would become the mainstay of the business to this day.

Family business

Hendrik van Toor started a ‘tapperij’, a pub, on the market square in the old centre of Vlaardingen. Short after his wife took over the pub and Hendrik started distilling spirits. Four generations of the Family Van Toor runned the company until there was no follow-up. When Leo Fontijne found out about this he quit his well-paid job, even though the family advised him not to. They didn’t see a future for the distillery. Leo persisted though and has been the owner of Distilleerderij Van Toor since 2000. He is one of the few distillers who are still working in the old-fashioned way. On top of that he tries to get the Dutch liquor dealers to sell the traditional products. A great initiative, go Leo!

Schelvispekel

The history of Schelvispekel dates back to the VOC (Dutch East India Company) era and that makes it one of the oldest fisherman’s drinks in the Netherlands. Fishermen from Vlaardingen exchanged herring for spices with the VOC crew. With these spices the fishermen brewed their own drink, free of added odors or flavors. Pure nature, and it still is produced this way! It is said that it was one of David Bowie’s favorite drinks. In 1974 he received an award in the popular Dutch tv-show TopPop and raised a glass of his favorite drink Schelvispekel to celebrate this moment.

Vlaardingen

The harbour in Vlaardingen used to be the home port of the herring fisherman’s boats. However, fishing for herring, cod and anchovy is a thing of the past. Around the harbour(s) the fishing past is still clearly recognizable though. A visit to Rotterdam is excellent to combine with a day trip to Vlaardingen and neighbouring Schiedam, the genever capital of Holland.

Maassluissedijk 32
3131 KB Vlaardingen
The Netherlands

+31 (0)10 4342577

Available at these fine stores and webshops:

More distilleries View all stories (4) >

Stokerij Sculte

Stokerij Sculte

Stokerij Sculte is a small craft distillery, located in a former monastry in Ootmarsum in the region Twente, close to the German border. Founder Gerard Velthuis started distilling fruit in 2004 and won several awards at prestigious competitions like the Destillata in Austria.

Jopenkerk Hoofddorp Distillery

Jopenkerk Hoofddorp Distillery

As of 2016, restaurant, distillery and tasting room the Hoofdvaartkerk has been renamed and restyled into Jopenkerk Hoofdorp. It is housed in a beautifully renovated historic building, the oldest church of Haarlemmermeer.

Rutte & Zn Distillery

Rutte & Zn Distillery

Rutte Distillers is located in a historical building in the city of Dordrecht and has been distilling spirits here since 1872. No artificial flavorings or colorings are used, all of the flavor and color comes from fresh fruit, herbs and nuts.