Belgian brewery 3 Fonteinen, known for their gueuze and kriek beers has announced a million-euro investment to boost local production and outfit an existing brewing site with a visitor's park.
The beer maker's site in the village of Lot, in the Flemish Brabant, will be outfitted with brewing infrastructure and diverse facilities in a major investment expected to total €25 million.
Brewing is not currently done at the Lot facilities, which are used mainly for the assembly and maturing processes of the brand's well-known gueuzes, a type of lambic beer originally manufactured in and around Brussels.
The investment signals an intention by the company to boost production and to delve into the beer tourism sector, with the revamp set to include a park and visiting spaces.
Hundreds of Schaerbeek cherry trees, whose fruits were traditionally used to produce Belgium's well-known kriek beers, will also be planted in the expanded Lot site, in an effort to bring back the local cherries into the brand's kriek production.
The Belgian brewer has also set eyes on boosting cooperation with local grain producers, and in particular to reintroduce a local variety of hop, according to the Belga news agency.
Rapid expansion in the northern Brussels municipalities resulted in a rapid decline in the number of cherry trees, pushing kriek makers to replace the local-grown fruit with imported cherries.
The expansion will see the brewer's manufacturing area sprawl over a total of 13,000 square metres, up from the current 5,500.
Construction works are expected to start in the autumn of 2020 and last around two years, meaning the first beers brewed on-site will hit the shelves in the following years, with the exception of the lambics, which require a maturing period of about two and a half years.
As a result of their investment, 3 Fontenein is expecting their production output to reach 6,000 hectolitres per year and foresee an expansion of their workforce by around 30 to 40 workers.
The Brussels Times