Ketel One is produced by the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, the Netherlands. The Nolet Distillery was founded in 1691, and has remained in the Nolet family ever since. Ketel One is so named for the original coal-fired copper still that was used to distill it, Distilleerketel #1.
In 1794 a windmill known as "the Whale" was built on the property. In 1867 the family began to focus on exporting their products. They opened a distillery in the United States in 1902 and sold vodka under the Imperial Eagle Vodka brand name. However, they were forced to close it during the prohibition era, with Joannes Nolet forced to flee the country.
The town of Schiedam has long been known for the alcohol industry. Currently it has a distillation museum. By the end of the 1800s the town boasted over 400 distilleries. However, the industry was hit hard by World War II, and by the end of the war only 40 were left. Within the next few years changes in technology and consolidations and mergers left Nolet as the only distillery still operating in Schiedam.