Top Spirits from Belgium for Six Generations

Interview with Bernard Zacharias, Managing Director of Distillerie Radermacher SA

Distillerie Radermacher Headquarters

Small but exquisite. That's how the Belgian Distillerie Radermacher can be described. The family-run distillery from Raeren, near the German border, stands for excellent spirits that have been produced with great commitment and love for the product for almost two centuries. Despite this long tradition, the company picks up on current trends and offers, in addition to classic whiskey, gin, rum, vodka, liqueurs, and aperitifs, also innovative specialties and organic qualities, which can be tasted right away in the modern adventure distillery with an attached restaurant.

"Quality is always at the forefront for us," assures Managing Director Bernard Zacharias, who leads Distillerie Radermacher founded by his great-great-grandfather. "As a family business, we are all deeply passionate about what we do and want to offer our customers the best possible service."

Whisky enthusiasts will enjoy the products of the Lambertus® brand – including a five-year aged Single Malt Peated, with Sherry or Tequila Finish as well as the 10 Years – Single Grain Founders Reserve. 1836 Eighteenthirtysix® includes various variations of Gin, for example, Original, Pink, Barrel Aged, Clementine, as well as Rum and Vodka. Other products include coffee and chocolate liqueurs, fruit aperitifs, Limoncello, Genever, and Vermouth.

Bernard Zacharias, Managing Director of Distillerie Radermacher SA
Bernard Zacharias, Managing Director of Distillerie Radermacher SA

In addition to the maintenance and distribution of its own brands, Distillerie Radermacher produces private labels for customers by order and also operates as a contract bottler. Tours through the distillery as well as the top restaurant 1836, led by head chef Katy-Anne Zacharias – the wife of the managing director – complete the portfolio of the family business.

Distillerie Radermacher 1836 Collection
Colorful variety: The brands 1836 Eighteenthirtysix® and Lambertus®
Distillery Radermacher 1836 Gin
For special occasions: Gin Winter Edition

Founded in 1836

In 1836, the customs collector and farmer Peter Radermacher founded what is today the oldest distillery in Belgium, to distill genever. In 1878, his son Leonard took over the operation, which passed to his sons after his death in 1920. After the end of World War II, the brothers Lambert and Willy resumed the business in 1948.

Lambert Radermacher died in 1983 and after the death of his wife, their grandson Bernard Zacharias took over the management of the distillery in 1989 at the age of 22. The last major milestones in the history of the traditional distillery are the entry of Line Zacharias as the sixth generation into the company in 2019, as well as the expansion by 1,500 m² of production area and the opening of the visitor center in 2022.

Diverse customer groups

Currently, Distillerie Radermacher employs 18 staff members and generates a revenue of five million EUR. Customers include wholesale, importers, specialized retailers, and department store chains. Almost a quarter of the production is sold outside Belgium in Europe, Australia, and the USA. A key account manager takes care of major customers, with one of three field staff members exclusively concerned with Private Label. "To attract new customers, we are present at various trade fairs in Europe," explains Bernard Zacharias. "In addition, one employee is solely responsible for marketing."

Distillery Radermacher Lambertus

Digital and Sustainable

The nearly 200-year-old distillery is up to date digitally. "All our processes are computer-controlled," the managing director emphasizes. But Radermacher is also state of the art in terms of sustainability. Bernard Zacharias: "We pay great attention to energy efficiency, have insulated all pipes optimally, and use heat recovery. In addition, we have various organic spirits in our range."

The way people interact with each other at Distillerie Radermacher is described by the company boss as very familial and social. According to his plans, he would like to retire from the daily operations in ten years and hand over the management of the distillery to his daughter Line. But until then, he wants to pursue his passion for exquisite spirits as he has for decades, further establish the experience distillery, and thus continue the success story of Distillerie Radermacher.