The Radermacher distillery, founded in 1836, is the oldest distillery in Belgium.
Located in Raeren in the German-speaking community, it has been part of the small circle of Belgian whisky producers for many years. Its history goes even further, as it is also the first to develop an organic range.
The Radermacher distillery is proud of its almost two-hundred-year history and today offers a wide range of whiskies, gins, rums, vodkas, liqueurs and aperitifs. It strives for the “top level” of the European market, but remains true to traditions and time-honoured recipes and does not skimp on either the quality or the variety of the products on offer.
Long reserved for Belgian connoisseurs, Radermacher products are now appreciated in several countries around the world.
The Radermacher distillery is not only certified organic, but is also one of the few distilleries to hold the IFS FOOD food certification.
In 1836, farmer Peter Radermacher founded a distillery to process the grain harvested on his land into gin using the mill he owned. This is the birth of the Radermacher distillery, the oldest distillery in Belgium.
Peter Radermacher dies in 1878 at the age of 72. His son Leonard succeeds him and takes over the running of the agricultural distillery.
World War I marks the beginning of a difficult period for the family and their six children, who are able to survive thanks to income from agriculture. Moreover, the copper boilers are confiscated during the German occupation. Fortunately, the family is able to raise enough capital to buy a new still after the end of the war.
Leonard Radermacher dies at the age of 69. His three sons Pierre, Willy and Lambert take over the family business. They continue and diversify the activities of the distillery by offering the bottling of wines bought in barrels in addition to the production of juniper and liqueurs.
Pierre Radermacher falls at the start of World War II. After Lambert and Willy refused to join the NSDAP, the Nazis banned them from producing alcohol and the distillery had to cease operations. All the tools were confiscated. The family was able to keep their heads above water again by working on the farm.
After the war, the situation improved. The distillery, exhausted by long hardships, could finally resume its economic activities and increase its turnover tenfold. In 1948, the brothers Lambert and Willy give up farming activities, buy new stills and get ministerial permission to distill by obtaining an official distilling license.
Willy Radermacher dies and from then on, the activities of the distillery rest on the shoulders of his brother Lambert.
Lambert Radermacher dies in 1983, regretting the lack of a son to whom he could hand over his activities. However, he had not counted on his grandson Bernard Zacharias, who inherited his grandfather’s passion and love for the craft.
After his grandmother’s death in 1989, Bernard took over the distillery at the age of just 22. His enthusiasm, creativity, but above all his diligence and respect for the family traditions place the distillery in the right place in the Belgian world of spirit drinks.
This is the birth of Lambertus Whisky, produced in memory of Lambert Radermacher, one of the main pillars of the family distillery.
It is also the birth of Line Zacharias, the 6th generation to join the distillery in 2019.
Woodberries, an aperitif made with forest fruits, is born and with it the brand that makes the family business one of Belgium’s best-known distilleries.
Radermacher distillery is the first in Belgium to start producing certified organic spirits. This marks the birth of the 1836 organic line.
Referring to the distillery’s founding year, it consists of several gins, a rum and a vodka.
The sixth generation joins the family business. A real challenge taken up by Line Zacharias, allowing the company to make long-term plans for the future.
Extensive expansion work begins in March 2021. 1,500 m2 will be added to optimise and modernise production, increase capacity and better comply with all aspects of food safety.
Moreover, a large part of the distillery’s investment will go towards reducing its carbon footprint.
At the end of the work in September 2022, a visitor center is built to introduce the general public to the fabulous world of distillation.
BETWEEN TRADITION AND INNOVATION
Founded in 1836, the Radermacher distillery is a family business where the secrets of distilling are passed on from generation to generation.
The company is currently run by Bernard Zacharias, the fifth generation, who has recently been joined by his daughter Line, the sixth generation. The latter also seems gripped by a passion for the craft and strongly committed to family values.
Almost two centuries of know-how and a rigorous selection of raw materials are the true secret of the distillery’s art. The distillery is uncompromising on quality, remaining faithful to ancestral traditions while combining them with the requirements of modern production, thus allowing the elaboration of distillates of an exceptional quality.