Floor and Bouke are Brand Managers at De Monnik Dranken: ‘We get a lot of responsibility here’

De Monnik Dranken in Oldenzaal is a true family business. Floor Zanderink (31) and Bouke Wijlens (29) work as Brand Managers. They discuss De Monnik Dranken, the Twente influences, and their growth opportunities.

What makes De Monnik Dranken a real family business?

Bouke: “People feel comfortable here. This is reflected in the low turnover of staff. Some people have been working at De Monnik for thirty years or more. There’s a family feeling, not in a cheesy way, but in the sense that we all do it together.” 

Floor: “The lines of communication are short as well. You don’t have to go through four people to get approval for something; you get answers to your questions quickly. What also suits a family business is making choices for the long term. Decisions aren’t made impulsively. If we commit to something, there must be a solid plan. The company needs to endure for the next generations.”

De Monnik Dranken is known as a wholesaler of beverages, but what else does it do?

Bouke: “The company has three core activities. It’s a beverage wholesaler, but at the same time, it’s an importer and brand builder. That makes us unique in the beverage and hospitality landscape. We have 10,000 items in stock, supplying products to wine shops and liquor stores throughout the Netherlands and retail organizations, wholesalers, and hospitality establishments nationwide.”

You work as Brand Managers. What does that entail?

Floor: “De Monnik has several brands that we exclusively represent in the Dutch market. I focus on distilled beverages like whisky, rum, and tequila, while Bouke focuses on wine brands. We negotiate prices with suppliers from Spain, Turkey, and beyond. You learn a lot from these international contacts. We also make marketing plans to introduce the brands to the market and promote them at festivals and trade fairs.” 

Bouke: “The role is versatile. It’s marketing, but it also overlaps with sales and procurement. Our goal is for the customer to see one of our brands and think, ‘Hey, I need to have that.’”

How have you grown in your roles?

Floor: “When I started as a Junior Brand Manager, I had just graduated in Marketing Management. I took courses in Distilled and Liquorist through De Monnik because you need to have knowledge of the products you’re selling. Tasting is part of that. I’ve even tasted tequila at nine in the morning.” 

Bouke: “I also took courses in wine through De Monnik. Additionally, you learn a lot from colleagues. The more I’ve grown in this role, the more I’ve learned about wines. Wines or distilled beverages often have a unique story, making it interesting to learn about. Internal training is something De Monnik pays attention to. Employees are given the opportunity to progress. For example, in procurement and administration, there are colleagues who previously worked in the warehouse. If you’re willing to learn and suitable for the job, De Monnik prefers to fill positions internally.”

What do you notice about Twente’s influence on the company?

Bouke: “Hospitality. That’s why I felt comfortable when I started here six years ago. Colleagues make an effort to integrate you into the company. Another sign of that hospitality is that we have colleagues from all over the country. They are sometimes surprised that everyone says good morning as they walk through the warehouse and that everyone is willing to help each other. That’s not something they’re all used to.” 

Floor: “You also see the Twente influence in our job postings. One of the qualities often requested is ’a sense of Twente entrepreneurship.’ You need to be able to deal with Twente’s down-to-earthness and straightforwardness.” 

Bouke: “Furthermore, at De Monnik, if you promise something, you must deliver. That’s instilled from the beginning. Many colleagues are proud to work for De Monnik, but we also take a humble stance. That’s truly Twente. We don’t boast about our position in the market and rather let others do that.”

Are you Tukkers (from Twente, ed.) yourselves?

Floor: “I’m from Oldenzaal but live in Hengelo. During my studies, I lived in Groningen. After that, my boyfriend and I wanted to move to the West, but this job opportunity came up, and we returned to Twente.” 

Bouke: “I’m from Enschede and studied in Tilburg, but I didn’t have a strong preference for where I wanted to live. I got excited when I saw a job opening at De Monnik. I applied for the position of Junior Brand Manager and got hired.”

No regrets about coming back to Twente?

Floor: “Absolutely not. I like living close to family, and there’s plenty to do in the region. Plus, you can buy a nicer house here for the same money as compared to the West, which is also nice.” 
Bouke: “I also like being close to my family. Being able to drop by without having to make an appointment. I have some friends living abroad. Such an adventure seemed cool to me, too. But sometimes, they are jealous of what we are building here.”

Sounds like you’re settled for the time being at De Monnik Dranken. Are there opportunities for you to grow here?

Bouke: “Definitely. We’re both even getting new roles. Floor will be leading the Brand Management team for Distilled, and I’ll lead the Wine team. We’re adding a layer between the Brand Managers and the management.” 

Floor: “De Monnik has grown rapidly in recent years, and we’ve been given the chance to grow with it. Both of us started as Junior Brand Managers and moved up to Brand Managers. Now, we’re taking this step. It shows trust.”

Contact information

Deventerstraat 6
7575 EM Oldenzaal
0541 - 513 076 info@monnik-dranken.nl monnik-dranken.nl

Date: 9 October 2023 |

Source of tekst: De Monnik Dranken, Floor Zanderink en Bouke Wijlens |

Author: Willem Korenromp

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