De Vreng: A Legacy of Quality Liquors Spanning Over 100 Years
Located on Nieuwendijk 75, De Vreng is a liquor store where both old classics and new labels meet. De Vreng has been serving Amsterdam locals and visitors with a wide range of quality drinks for over a century.
The Early Days of De Vreng
The building in which De Vreng is located has been associated with wine merchants since 1710. In the past, ships moored at the Haringpakkerskade and barrels of wine and beer were stored here in the cellars. Nieuwendijk 75 was always known as the local pub until 1910, when Jacobus de Vreng stepped in and bought the business. This was the beginning of the De Vreng legacy.
After 5 years, his son Piet de Vreng took over the business and transformed the small café and tasting room into a modern café business. Later, Piet expanded the business to Haringpakkerssteeg 15, the building right next to it. At the time, Café de Zon was a thriving café where they served homemade drinks and bitters, while a modern organ would play in the background.
The Decline of Genever Culture
This continued until the crisis in the 30s. During this time, the genever stock were stored in wooden barrels and remained in the cellars. It was later discovered that the longer the genever aged, the better its quality became. Piet continued to produce his liquors until the war.
After the war in 1947, his son Henk de Vreng took over the café and turned it into a modern 1950s café, where they still served their homemade concoctions under the De Vreng name. Predominately genever, but also some other liquors and bitters. However, the 50s and 60s saw a decline in genever culture. After the war, mainly “young genevers” were consumed because they were cheaper and easier to produced, so aged and higher quality “old genevers” faded into the background. This resulted in Henk turning the café into a liquor store in 1960. It was an everyday liquor store, but he continued to sell their homemade genevers and liquors.
New Blood and The Revival of Genever
At the end of the 70s, Rob en René, the sons of Henk, joined the business, bringing with them a passion for experimenting with liquors. They learned the art of distilling genever from Han van Wees (the van Wees family owns one of the oldest distillery in Amsterdam) and created genevers with various maturations under the name ‘Oud Amsterdam’ (Old Amsterdam). The brothers also expanded their range of liqueurs by putting their creativity at work with some old recipes, new flavours such as Speculaas, Caramel, Salty Liquorice and Butterscotch were created. Genever was not popular at the time, until De Vreng genevers became the top choice among a panel of testers, propelling its popularity and demand. This was a turning point in the distilling world, and to this day, genever remains a widely recognized and sold product.
De Vreng Today: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
Although De Vreng family recently passed the torch to a new family in 2020, the traditions and concept of De Vreng remain the same, albeit with a slightly modern twist. De Vreng continues to produce high-quality genevers and liqueurs under the Oud Amsterdam brand while offering a wide selection of other spirits from around the world. The store’s rich history and deep-rooted traditions are reflected in its high-quality products and knowledgeable staff, who are always ready to guide customers through the world of liquor.
Visit us at De Vreng and discover the legacy of quality and tradition that has been passed down over a century. Cheers to new beginnings and old classics!