Rotterdam is world famous for its harbour, it’s huge, it really is. If you’d treat yourself on a Baron cocktail at the hotel bar of the Nhow on the 7th floor and you take a seat outside, look to the left and as far as the horizon reaches you see harbour cranes, vessels passing by and industry rising.

But in the 17th century, the Rotterdam harbour was more concentrated around the city centre of which you can now still see the remains in the “Leuvehaven”, “Veerhaven”, “Oude haven” and the “Wijnhaven”. The latter one got his name due to the first vermouth Baron of Rotterdam, Willem Pedij.

Mr Pedij was chief of the wine guild and had a trading house on the far east side of the isle. He was a tradesman importing wines from Bordeaux and Nantes, which due to transport overseas from time to time weren’t all that good anymore when they arrived in the Rotterdam Wijnhaven.

Clever fella he was, Willem added some sugars, herbs and alcohol to the wines to give them an extra boost and make them more attractive to drink and sell again. Sounds familiar? ( link to article). Of course, the process of making vermouth is a bit more complex and for Baron, we use a premium quality base wine to build our flavours on. But in a way, you could say that Willem Pedij, the founding father of the Wijnhaven in Rotterdam, was the first vermouth Baron of Rotterdam, maybe of the entire world!

Cheers to you Willem, thank you for inspiring us!

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