A Family Business

If you ask Sebastiaan and David about their grandfather Bobby Alfons, they will tell the story of how he emigrated to the Netherlands and truly missed the flavors of his birthplace Naku on Moluccan ‘spice island’ Ambon. Sebastiaan: “I remember the days at grandfather Bobby’s house, filled with family and laughter, the aromas of spices like lemongrass, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and cubeb peppers enchanting the room —the botanicals he used to infuse his Dutch jenever.”

Fast forward 2/3 decades in time, the grandsons felt it was time to explore their family tradition and specifically grandfather’s traditional spice blend, his Pinang Raci.

Sebastiaan: “I started my professional career in the beverage industry, but I needed to go my own way. I was ready to create something different, something exciting and something from the heart. My mother and I connected the dots, and during a long discussion at the dinner table she suggested: “What about grandfather Bobby’s recipe?”.

With the help of the entire family, we recovered and reconstructed the recipe to grandfather Bobby’s family tradition and Pinang Raci recipe of infusing jenever with a mismash of spices. In the end, aunt Betty recalled the mishmash of Indonesian spices. This is where the grandsons’ journey to create Bobby’s Gin started.

There was one bottle of his infused Dutch jenever in our grandmother’s house. And this became the start of our journey to make Bobby’s Gin."

East meets west

Bobby’s journey

1777
Dutch Courage
In Schiedam, the distilling capital of the world, family-owned Herman Jansen Distillery distills its first jenever – the malty ancestor of gin. This unique spirit became well known to the English navy fighting at sea as ‘Dutch courage’. When returning home, the British tried to duplicate jenever, but failed. Their result evolved in dry gin: jenever minus malt spirit.
1951
Indonesian Spirit
Grandfather Jacobus ‘Bobby’ Alfons, the inspiration and namesake of Bobby’s Gin, emigrates to the Netherlands from Naku, Ambon. Bobby was well known for skilfully infusing Dutch jenever with his Pinang Raci spice blend, that reminded him of home: Naku on the Moluccan ‘spice island’ Ambon. Infusing jenever with spices, creating his own Pinang Raci, was a daily routine for grandfather Bobby. Fuelled by intuition and a genuine love of flavour, Bobby infused his favourite spirit with traditional spices. This recipe is the core and foundation of Bobby’s Gin.
2012
The Discovery
The grandsons discover grandfather Bobby’s Pinang Raci recipe with the help of their aunt Betty. Intrigued by their grandfather’s spirit-infusion, they travel to the juniper-soaked city of Schiedam, to meet master distiller Ad van der Lee at the Herman Jansen Distillery. Together, they start developing a contemporary and exciting dry gin, by balancing Bobby Alfons’ spice blend with Schiedam’s botanical jenever heritage.
2014
Bobby’s Schiedam Dry Gin
After almost two years of tasting and refining, the liquid has found its perfect recipe. Bobby’s Gin has resulted in an exquisite blend of Indonesian and Dutch botanicals, capturing the spirit, heritage, and tradition from the East and the West, in a celebration of what a dry gin can be.
2014
A special design
Bobby’s historical ties to both East and the West, The Netherlands and Indonesia are beautifully captured within the iconic bottle and label design. A modern interpretation of a classic Dutch jenever bottle (kruik) is showcasing the label with a traditional Indonesian ikat weaving pattern, which is screen printed on the grey and brown-smoked glass bottle.
2014
The launch
Bobby’s Gin is launched in The Netherlands on February 12th, 2014. The contemporary and spice-driven Dry Gin causes a stir amongst Dutch bartenders and gin drinkers, and starts building a legacy, with a dedicated fan base.
2016
Bobby’s Jenever
Increasing the range, Bobby’s Jenever is launched as a brother for Bobby’s Gin. This grandsons’ cut is malt spirit-based, very fresh and fragrant with natural Indonesian spice and botanicals. The legacy of grandfather Bobby Alfons started in 1951 with infusing jenever with his own spice blend and Bobby’s Jenever completes the family circle from grandfather to grandsons.
2019
Bobby’s 5 YRS Edition – jenever-based dry gin
Marking the fifth anniversary of Bobby’s Gin, a unique, very special, limited-edition spirit is introduced. Bobby’s 5 YRS Edition is celebrating 5 years of successful collaboration between Bobby’s grandsons and the Herman Jansen Distillery – a ‘wooden marriage’. For the base of this spirit, master distiller Ad van der Lee has selected an extraordinary Notaris malt spirit jenever, batch 2014, the birth-year of Bobby’s Gin. Together, the grandsons and the master distiller, have crafted an extraordinary combination of Bobby’s botanical flavour profile, a base of Notaris malt jenever, and 5 years of wood ageing on carefully selected and treated virgin bourbon barrels – symbolizing the wooden marriage between both parties. The result is a very complex, smooth, and versatile jenever-based dry gin. Bobby’s 5 YRS Edition has become a true collector’s item upon its release, much sought after by both gin lovers, and jenever connoisseurs.
2020
International expansion & gold medals!
Bobby’s spirits are available in more than 50 countries— from Europe to Latin America, from North America to Asia. International recognition and appreciation for Bobby’s spirits are also shown by gold medals at international spirit competitions, like the World Spirit Awards (WSA). Bobby’s Gin was awarded a gold medal in 2016 and 2018, Bobby’s Jenever was awarded gold in 2018, and Bobby’s 5 YRS is awarded gold in 2021
2021
Ready to drink!
Two Ready-to-Drink cans are released with our favourite serves, Bobby’s Gin & Tonic and Bobby’s Gin & Pink Lemonade. Canned, bar-quality ready-to-drinks, straight out of the fridge or on ice.
2022
Bobby’s Pinang Raci Spice Blend No.1
Grandsons Sebastiaan and David fully credit the success of Bobby’s Dry Gin & Jenever to their Grandfather Bobby. But his legacy reaches beyond these spirits and keeps inspiring the present and future. Therefore, the grandsons and master distiller at Herman Jansen, Ad van der Lee, continued experimenting with Pinang Raci and the mishmashing of spices, resulting in a series of unique spice blends. With Bobby’s Pinang Raci Spice Blend No.1 the grandsons introduce the tradition of Pinang Raci to 2022 with an aromatic, spice-driven and heart-warming dry gin.