Based in the Netherlands, the couple mix business with pleasure by regularly travelling to Scotland, Ireland and America in pursuit of new whisky stories.
And they use their knowledge to introduce whisky to a new audience and to train staff in high end hotels and restaurants.
“It works very well,” says Hans. “We own a company called Conceptual Continuity and we hold the trade name The Whisky Couple. I develop concepts, write and present, we both do photography, and Becky does planning, editing the layout for books, and prepares the presentations and lectures for me.
“When at home we write, when travelling it is a mixture of photography, research, interviews, writing, and it is always a lot of fun on the road.”
This pretty much ideal lifestyle is unusual because it isn’t a case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ -neither party was dragged to whisky because of the obsession of the other. Both have come to whisky by their own route.
Hans is a business journalist with a passion for English literature and a talent for multimedia development. He started writing about whisky 15 years ago. Becky is a marine biologist and certified real estate agent. They met through a mutual acquaintance at an art show in Charleston, South Carolina, where Becky was based. Both already had a love of whisky.
“My passion for whisky started at the age of 18, but Becky, too, was initiated in to whisky at a relatively young age,” says Hans. “her maiden name is Lovett, from the Clan Fraser of Lovat. Becky’s father is regularly the host of the Clan Fraser tent at the Highland games in Savannah, Georgia. Becky has a natural talent for tasting, and is an excellent taster in her own right.”
Hans says that whisky has been very kind to them and there have been many, many highlights.
He has particularly fond memories of his time spent with beer and whisky writing legend Michael Jackson.
“Among my favourite memories are sharing time, drams and stories with him. He was my mentor and dear friend. When I turned 50 the three of us shared a 50 Years Old Glen Grant.
But other great moments include sitting on the porch in Lynchburg, Tennessee, with Woodey Bedford, a distant cousin of Jimmy Bedford, and spending time with Jim Rutledge, comparing the 10 white dogs of Four Roses and guessing how they might grow up eventually as single barrel bourbons.”
Hans and Becky show no signs of easing off and are looking forward to more extensive travelling and the opportunity to write more in depth historical books on single distilleries. The rapidly changing world of whisky appeals to them, too.
“It’s a very challenging time, with many opportunities,”says Hans. “New markets are emerging, and there are more experiments show a broadening of approach, which in turn will cater for even more palates, not just whisky educated ones. Add the growth of micro distilling and there’s lots happening.”
Balblair, Macallan, Locke’s/Kilbeggan, Woodford Reserve
Macallan Sherry Oak 18
Lagavulin Distillers’ Edition
The Glenivet French Oak
Highland Park 18
Four Roses Single Barrrel
Jack Daniel Single Barrel
Becky Lovett Offringa
Normally the next one, but if pushed my first love was Talisker.