Interview with Marc De Kuyper - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Interview with Marc De Kuyper

Marc de Kuyper of Royal Dutch Distillers“When elephants in the industry tell me they’ve been around 25 years in the business, I joke with them that I’m 36 years in the business. … Pretty much since I was born,” says Marc De Kuyper, president of Royal Dutch Distillers. Kuyper was born in The Hague and raised in Rotterdam, and despite the ease of folding right into the family business, he veered a bit. He worked in investment banking, telecommunications and even sold cheese for a bit, but and over time he realized he never gave the family business a chance, so when his father proposed that Marc oversee the company’s expansion into the United States, he jumped at the chance. Recently, De Kuyper sat down with Joshua Harris of The Bon Vivants (and Pig & Punch) to talk about the family business and why he supports Pig & Punch.

JH: What’s the best part of your job?
MDK: On paper, I’m president of the company. We have some senior sales managers working with distributors. That’s a big part of my day-to-day, but I consider myself a brand ambassador. That’s who I am. I talk about what we have done for eleven generations and why I want to do it for another eleven. That’s what wakes me up in the morning and gives me energy. I believe in building relationships and telling people what we are about. That’s what I like doing most.


JH: Mandarine Napoléon is one of your most popular brands. What makes it special?
MDK: It’s considered a staple to most people in the world. It’s never been heavily supported or promoted, but most people know it because of its great quality. We use 10-year-old Cognac, not just a brandy. It’s mandarin, not orange. It stands out in a category dominated by big brands. The Fourcroy family, the founding family, had it for seven generations and wanted to make sure it continued on in another family business. It had never been available before for larger companies to acquire. We are very happy to bring a brand like this [to the US].


JH: Why have you decided to support Pig & Punch?
MDK: What we’ve tried to foster from day one is hospitality and fun, and that’s what Pig & Punch is to me. It’s about charity and working with bartenders for a greater cause. The Pig & Punch event is all about fun, games, drinking, enjoying, unwinding. That’s what we try to do with our brand. And then, of course, we happen to like The Bon Vivants.

JH: When you get those moments to truly detach from work, what do you do for fun?
MDK: I’m an outdoorsy guy. We’ve done Yellowstone National Park, the High Sierra Trail in California, and the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.


JH: What’s your favorite fine-dining restaurant and your favorite low-key place to eat, anywhere in the world?
MDK: Versailles in Miami. It’s a Cuban restaurant with plastic tablecloths. It’s cheap, typical Cuban food, but it’s the best food ever, and they serve great coffee. That’s definitely my “not so cuisine choice.” For high-end restaurants, I like the one Michelin Star restaurants in France. They’re not as pretentious, and often, they don’t even want to go for that second star. They just have exceptional food and great wines.

JH: You’ve traveled a lot. What’s your must-visit destination for work or pleasure?
MDK: Very easy question for me. The Azores Island group, where my wife and I met diving with whales. The island is exceptionally beautiful. Like the rhododendrons, it has beautiful plants and colors everywhere. The people are extremely nice, and it’s a volcanic island, so no one is there. It’s a hybrid of French and Portuguese kitchens. Most foods are spicy and refreshing.


JH: Now I’ve got some rapid-fire questions for you.

JH: Dogs or cats?
MDK: Cats.

JH: Early bird or night owl?
MDK: Early bird.

JH: Coffee or tea?
MDK: Coffee.

JH: Mountains or beach?
MDK: Mountains.

JH: Sparkling or still?
MDK: Sparkling.

JH: Forks, chopstick, or fingers?
MDK: Fingers.

JH: And finally, football or fútbol?
MDK: Fútbol.

Enjoy This Article?

Sign up for our newsletter and get biweekly recipes and articles delivered to your inbox.