Eggnog manufacturers in the pandemic: Viktoria & William Verpoorten

Bonn Yolk yellow as far as the eye can see. In the Verpoorten headquarters in Bonn, the floor, sofas and even the coffee dishes are the same color as the main ingredient in eggnog. On the wall are advertising posters from many decades, which entrepreneur William Verpoorten, 65, enthusiastically explains.

The slogan “Ei, ei, ei … Verpoorten” has remained unchanged since 1961, even though the target group has become younger. A generation change has also begun in the family business. Daughter Viktoria, 31, from the sixth generation is now in charge of purchasing.

Mr and Mrs Verpoorten, egg liqueur has always been a drink for jolly senior women. On your homepage you can see hip young women with tattoos and mixed drinks in their hands. Does Verpoorten benefit from the Jägermeister effect and even become a trendy drink?
William Verpoorten: Eggnog was never out. Every retailer – regardless of whether it is the department store, the discounter or the Edeka around the corner – always has egg liqueur on the shelf. In terms of customer reach, Verpoorten ranks third after Aperol and Ramazzotti compared to all spirits traded in Germany. Eggnog is wrongly labeled an old clientele.
Viktoria Verpoorten: We have invested a lot of time and effort to rejuvenate our target audience. The average age today is 44 years. There is a certain amount of hype about eggnog, similar to gin.
William Verpoorten: Eggnog is not firewater, but a pleasure. It can be used in many ways for desserts, coffee cocktails, for baking or ice cream – we don’t have to compete with the drinks in the bars and clubs in the evening. Verpoorten is often used from noon to early evening. This clearly sets us apart from all other spirits.

How has the typical eggnog drinker changed over the decades?
William Verpoorten: 80 percent of the time it is the woman who buys, the man prefers to carry the heavy crate of beer or the double grain to the cash register. When the liqueur is at home, the man drinks almost half of it. In the pandemic, we have won a lot with younger people in particular.

Top jobs of the day

Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.


The traditional family company has modernized its product range.

Verpoorten’s sales increased by 8.5 percent in 2020. Why was more eggnog drunk during the pandemic?
William Verpoorten: People were forced to indulge themselves at home during lockdown. And in uncertain times they fall back on tried and tested brands such as Dr. Oetker, ice cream from Langnese – or the egg liqueur classic from Bonn. We are world market leaders.
Viktoria Verpoorten: However, there were no Christmas markets where a lot of eggnog is usually drunk. Sales in duty-free shops also fell flat. For this, our online business grew.

How do you give young customers a taste for it?
William Verpoorten: In the 1960s, egg liqueur was served on the bobbin lace and drunk from the liqueur bowl with coffee, today we make a “coffee shooter” out of it.
Viktoria Verpoorten: A three-layered glass: Verpoorten at the bottom, a double espresso above and milk foam or cream above – then pull it up once with the straw. We give full throttle on the most important social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. We send influencers our special editions such as peach-passion fruit or amaretto-apricot – in cool apothecary bottles with an ice base. We are particularly happy about credible influencers who post their own recipes such as cocktails or muffins.

The advertising jingle “Ei, ei, ei … Verpoorten” has been a catchy tune since 1961 and is unchanged like the recipe. A horror for every marketing consultant.
William Verpoorten: “Ei, ei, ei …” is embossed into the glass on every bottle. Almost everyone who stays knows the jingle. Most of them tried their first eggnog on their aunt’s lap at the siblings’ communion party. Verpoorten is always associated with family and friends.

The younger generation places more value on sustainable nutrition. Why is there no Verpoorten with organic eggs?
William Verpoorten: We can’t get by with 250 organic eggs from a farmer Bölte.
Viktoria Verpoorten: The amount of organic eggs that we need is unfortunately not available in sufficient quantities all year round. We only purchase fresh grade A eggs from controlled alternative forms of animal husbandry (KAT-certified). In addition, our egg liqueur is gluten- and lactose-free, which appeals to many younger people.

“Without alcohol we would have to add preservatives”

In the meantime there are also reasonable vegetable egg substitutes – when will Verpoorten become vegan?
Viktoria Verpoorten: Of course we have recipes for eggnog without eggs in the drawer. We developed it ourselves in our laboratory. But of course the taste also has to be right.
William Verpoorten: And right now we don’t think that such a niche within the niche would be successful.

Alcohol-free is also trendy. Even hard liquor like gin is a hit without alcohol. Why doesn’t this work with eggnog?
William Verpoorten: We only use fresh eggs. The product-friendly pasteurization and the extra-fine filtered alcohol ensure the quality. Without alcohol we would have to add artificial preservatives – who wants that?
Viktoria Verpoorten: We continuously take samples from every egg pallet to the finished liqueur. Impeccable quality has top priority. Verpoorten only has one product – the yellow classic. A recall would possibly threaten our very existence.

Bottle labeling at Verpoorten

The company mainly focuses on the classic egg liqueur.

Speaking of a product. Verpoorten is now available in chocolates, cakes, desserts and ice cream. You deliver your excess protein to meringue manufacturers. Why haven’t you diversified in 150 years and don’t make such products yourself?
William Verpoorten: My principle is: if you are not among the top three in the market, you always lag behind. Better sharp and strong than number four.
Viktoria Verpoorten: We have other family businesses as license partners – Kuchenmeister for tree cake tops, the Reber confectionery for filled chocolates, Merl for layered desserts and Bofrost for cakes and ice cream. They are experts in their field and their sales channels are completely different.
William Verpoorten: For us, the partnerships only bring advantages and additional visibility. It is not enough if our 0.7 liter bottle is only on the “shady” liquor shelf. This is how customers see our brand on the cake, chocolate and dessert shelves. At the moment there are mini-bottles on our praline packaging. That’s the big hit.

The prices for many raw materials have exploded. Is Verpoorten going to be more expensive anytime soon?
Viktoria Verpoorten: We will certainly have to think about increasing our prices. Since the pandemic, there has been a shortage everywhere. Certain aluminum closures have delivery times of four to six months. On other days there is a lack of cardboard packaging or self-adhesive labels. In this respect, we are happy that we have been able to deliver to our customers safely so far.
William Verpoorten: We have been trying in vain to get three new filling lines up and running for three months. The machine builder simply does not get any parts from the upstream supplier. It has never been so extreme. Wooden pallets cost three times as much as at the beginning of the year. The market has been swept empty. And even when the goods are ready for dispatch, many freight forwarders tell us they have too few drivers.

“Viktoria not only breathed the air of the upper floors”

Is the Christmas business at risk?
Viktoria Verpoorten: The situation is getting worse and worse, especially because the freight forwarders are short of staff. It cannot be ruled out that there will be yawning empty shelves in stores at Christmas. We buy well in excess of current demand and have rented two large warehouses externally to ensure that we can deliver. It all costs.

You joined the company in turbulent times, Ms. Verpoorten.
Viktoria Verpoorten: I started here on March 1, 2020 and moved from Munich to Bonn. Then it started with Corona and constant tests. As a trainee, I wandered through all departments for a year – from production, bottling, marketing and accounting to purchasing, which I’ve been in charge of since March 2021.
William Verpoorten: My daughter was welcomed into the company with open arms, after all, she already worked here during her school holidays. Viktoria not only breathed the dust-free air on the top floor. It has proven itself everywhere in the company. This also included inspecting the inside of the 80,000 liter tank for egg liqueur.

Administration building in Bonn

The founding family is in charge of the head office.

Have you always wanted to join the company? Or was there a certain pressure of expectation on you and your brother Philipp?
Viktoria Verpoorten: My father was very happy that I started as a representative of the sixth generation. My brother is four years older and the head of the forestry department in Lower Saxony.
William Verpoorten: I introduced him to nature too early. He feels very connected to the company, but is a forester with passion.
Viktoria Verpoorten: Everyone has only one life. Therefore everyone should do what gives them the greatest pleasure. It was important to me that I first prove my skills somewhere else and not start here right after graduation, so to speak green behind the ears. I have two healthy hands and worked for Philip Morris for four years in the office and in the field. If things crunch in the family business, I could always work elsewhere.

Her grandfather Viktor still ran the company until his death in 2003 at the age of 81. Aren’t you afraid that your father won’t be able to let go either?
Viktoria Verpoorten: At some point the baton will be handed over. But I wouldn’t think it was wrong if my father, like my grandpa, came to the company when he was 80 years old. It’s not just good for the working atmosphere – we all benefit from his experience.

How would you characterize your father as an entrepreneur?
Viktoria Verpoorten: My father is a creative mind, a great product developer and visionary. With new flavors, cool bottles and the license partnerships, he has taken a big step forward. And with his sense of humor, he is very popular with the workforce.
William Verpoorten: I have a clear leadership principle: anyone can make a mistake, but must not repeat it. Otherwise there is a warning.

How does your daughter work?
William Verpoorten: Viktoria is clearly structured, hardworking and straightforward, no fancy dress. We’re getting along well. The secret recipe for egg liqueur, which has remained unchanged since 1876, was only discovered in March. I have already given a good deal of my majority stake in the company to my children in order to introduce them to the family business at an early stage. Because we’re not playing Monopoly here.

Will Verpoorten remain in family hands in the future?
Viktoria Verpoorten: There have been quite a few takeover bids. But of course we don’t sell. We remain a family business.
Thank you for the interview.

More: Five new openings a week: Eat Happy is rolling out its sushi islands in Europe.

source site