A rather special juice
The German word "Saftladen" (juice shop) used to be a pejorative term for a chemist's shop where all manner of odd "juices" were offered, but people from the Lower Rhine or, more specifically, Hamminkeln, know it has other meanings. This town is on the right bank of the Rhine just over the Lower Rhine bridge. Visitors first pass the borough town of Wesel and then, a few kilometres north, arrive at this town close to the Dutch border. Around a hundred years ago, in 1917, with World War I in progress, Wilhelm van Nahmen laid the foundations for one of Germany's strangest food processing factories. This factory manufactured beet sugar and a replacement for butter, but also a sweet apple spread. Today, the business is run by his great grandson, Peter van Nahmen. But the company still manufactures a range of delicious products that started off as natural fruit, including juice. But that does not mean that this business in Hamminkeln is merely a "juice shop". The privately owned press house run by the van Nahmen family is well-known to connoisseurs of fine fruit juice throughout Germany. The company's testimonials list various star restaurants, such as the "Vendôme" in Bergisch-Gladbach and the "Aqua" in Wolfsburg. These choice products can also be found in quality retail shops. Some of the typical gourmet products manufactured by van Nahmen are Jonagold organic apple juice, Haschberg elderberry juice (also organic) and Constantinople apple quince. "Quinces are my favourite product", says owner Peter van Nahmen. "The range of flavours is tremendous – absolutely incredible."
There is good reason for the family to liken its top-of-the-range fruit juices to good wines. Peter van Nahmen worked for a large wine importer for many years before joining his father, Rainer, in the family firm. Romana Echensperger, a renowned sommelière, has written an opinion on each of the pure juices made here. "This juice has a brilliant, dense ruby colour in the glass. It presents a multi-level bouquet of ripe, juicy Morello cherries, marzipan and a touch of Mediterranean herbs, dark chocolate and black pepper", she wrote about the "Morellenfeuer" (fiery Morello cherries). Drinking temperature: 14 to 16 degrees Celsius. Recommended to accompany: beef, lamb, game, duck and goose, among others. Definitely an exceptional juice. There are around 20 of these types of juice. When a representative of a trading company called Manufaktum asked a few years ago if van Nahmen in Hamminkeln had a drinkable version of the red reinette apple, the idea of providing pure, unblended juices was born.
"It is our passionate approach to enjoyment that drives us forward and makes our products unique", the Managing Director describes the secret of their success. And "it is the quality that determines the volume we make, not the other way round." An absolutely decisive criterion is the origin of the fruit and berries. Whether they are sourced from Baden in the south or the Lower Rhine - this family concern always prefers to work with small, quality-aware suppliers. Sustainability is a key issue. "At the beginning of the 1990s, my father came to an agreement with the German NABU nature conservation organisation to develop a concept for protecting mixed orchard habitats", explains Peter van Nahmen. Today, we pay our partners that maintain these habitats, for example in the Unna and Viersen regions, 50 to 60 per cent more for their products. "The great thing about it is that end customers are happy to pay more to protect nature", he adds. "This is where ecology and economy overlap."
And that is not all, van Nahmen not only make sophisticated drinks, they also have cool ones on offer. Their new fruit juice and mineral water mixers go down very well in the fashionable parts of Berlin or Hamburg. The family behind the company remain true to their Lower Rhine roots, both professionally and in their private lives. The rivers and lakes of Hamburg and Berlin have their attractions but "I really love cycling along beside the Rhine, preferably in the area around Kalkar-Niedermörmter", says Peter van Nahmen.
Obstkelterei van Nahmen GmbH & Co. KG
Diersfordter Strasse 27
Phone: +49 2852 960 99-0
Fax: +49 2852 969 99-29
As of 2016