A group of friends in Ghent has raised almost one million euros of start-up capital to help them create Beerselect, which will be the city’s largest brewery. However Beerselect will not be brewing beer on its own account. Instead the company intends to supply the facilities for small artisanal brewers to scale up their production to meet the increasing demand for craft beer.
Similar contracts already exist with brewers like Anders in Limburg and De Proef in Ghent, who make beer to order according to a producer’s own recipe. Some independent breweries like Huyghe in Melle brew beer for clients as well as manufacturing their own brands. Beerselect offers something slightly different.
“What we do at the moment is support small brewers,” explained Miel Bonduelle, one of the four founders. “We represent them at international beer festivals. But the pity is that they are often running on the spot, even although there is much more demand for their beer than they can produce for themselves.”
The answer is not to brew beer for the small craft brewer, but to provide them with the equipment to do it themselves. The new brewery has raised 900,000 euros capital, and will, they say, become the largest in Ghent. To be fair, that is not a high bar to clear: the only functioning brewery remaining within Ghent city limits is Gruut, a micro-brewery that has revived the medieval technique of using a mix of herbs and spices in brewing instead of hops.
“As far as location is concerned, we are looking towards the outskirts of Ghent,” Bonduelle said. “In our brewery craft brewers can produce on a larger scale, with the guarantee that the original recipe, flavour and quality of their beer will be retained. The new complex will be around 1,000 square metres, and we hope to be able to begin brewing later this year.”