Nieuwendijk 75, where both new labels and old classics are sold. Liquor & wine store De Vreng is a speciality shop for choice quality produced drinks. After exactly 110 years of being in business, the De Vreng family has passed on the torch to a new family in 2020. The concept and traditions of the store remain the same but with a slightly modern twist. The store itself hasn’t changed, except for new faces behind the counter. Which is not surprising with such deep rooted history.
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, up until 1910 when Jacobus de Vreng stepped in and bought the business. This is where the De Vreng legacy begins. After 5 years his son Piet took over the business and grew the small café and tasting room to a modern café business, expanding to Haringpakkerssteeg 15. At the time, Café de Zon was a thriving bar where they served homemade drinks and bitters, while in the background a modern organ would sound. This continued until the crisis in the 30’s. It became increasingly quiet, while the Genever stock remained in the cellars. As luck would have it, they were stored in wooden barrels. Later they discovered that the longer the Genever had been ageing, the better the quality became. Piet continued to produce his liquors until the war.
After the war, in 1947, his son Henk de Vreng took over the cafe. He had the business converted into a modern 1950’s café, where they still served their own concoctions under the De Vreng name. Predominately Genever, but also some other liquors and bitters were poured.
Sadly, the 50’s and 60’s saw a decline in the Genever culture, and after the war mainly young Genevers were consumed. This was easily made and sold, so aged and higher quality Genevers faded into the background. Consequently, Henk decided to put a stop to the café and turn it into a liquor store in 1960. It was an everyday liquor store, but he still sold their home made liquors and Genevers.
At the end of the 70’s, the brothers Rob en René – the two sons of Henk – came into the business. They enjoyed experimenting with liquors and had the opportunity to learn the art distilling Genever from none other than Han van Wees. Under the name ‘Oud Amsterdam’ (Old Amsterdam) they sold Genevers with different maturations. Also their range of liquors expanded significantly. The brothers went to work with some old recipes and their imagination, and that is how new flavours such as Speculaas (spiced biscuit), Caramel, Salty Liquorice and Butterscotch came into existence.
Genever still wasn’t very popular at this time, until a panel was assembled to test the different Genevers. De Vreng Genevers came out on top, which boosted the liquor’s popularity with demand at an all time high, selling like never before. This was a turning point in the distilling world. To this day, Genever is a widely recognised and sold product with new owners making and selling this specialty liquor.