Alowis is the Flemish derival of Alois in French or Aloysius in Latin. He was the first generation of liqueur makers from today's company and was a highly iconic character through time. The brand is a tribute to this exuberant and interesting man and continues the legacy that he left us to today.
Three different families contributed to more than 140 years of smooth craftmanship.
Complex liqueurs call for a complex history.
Alowis founds his small company and starts making liqueurs and vinegars. His liqueurhouse produces fine and smooth liqueurs and among the first was his infamous Curaçao Triple Sec and a spiced liqueur known as Elixir.
Before this he was working as a cooper where he learnt to make barrels.
Alowis Mertens is born the 22th of August 1838 in the city of Aalst - Flanders, Belgium.
He is the youngest son of a large family of farmers.
His advertising shows the wide range and quality of liquers saying: "All kinds of fine liqueurs".
By this time he also imports wines, especially from the Bordeaux region.
A year after his father died, Alowis' son Hector takes over the company. He learned the art of making fine liqueurs from Alowis for many years. He was born into the liqueur making business.
He continues to make the classic line and adds a couple of flavours to the range.
Joseph Van der Schueren becomes a business partner of Hector. Joseph was making genever for a couple of years and created the first portfolio of what would become VdS Distillery, consisting of high quality liqueurs and genevers.
Together with his brother Paul, they are able to take over the whole company. Now that the expertise was handed over by Hector it was time to extend the range and focus on growth.
They change the name to Van der Schueren and thereby the liqueur range gets a new identity as well. The two brothers decide to produce under the name of VdS for the first time.
The distillery in 1938
Under the eye of Walter Van der Schueren, son of Joseph, the liqueurs find new markets in Belgium. He adds new editions to the range such as Rum Punch and Citron, both popular during the 1960's and 1970's.
He manages to make the company famous, mainly known for it's quality and pure craftmanship. During this period though, the range takes different shapes and becomes a mix of various bottles and labels.
The company introduces coffee liqueurs.
The first coffee liqueur Faluintjeskoffie - coffee of the Faluin, a region near Aalst - was made in the 1980's.
During the 1990's Walter makes a wide range of other coffee based liqueurs such as Flemish Coffee but mostly for third parties.
After having worked for Walter for a couple of years, Luc Waterschoot makes his move and purchases the distillery.
He continues to make the liqueurs that have been produced for so many years. He strongly focuses on the artisanal way of working and he improves some of the liqueur's recipes.
A bottle of Grande Liqueur Annabel from the 1940's.
A classic through time.
As of 2019, the company of VdS Distillery, decides to relaunch the existing liqueur line under the original name of the liqueurs house founder Alowis Mertens. By not changing a bit of the way of making the products, they keep on making the liqueurs like they have always done it for ages.