Belgian brewers are being hit hard by the coronacrisis and, by extension, the closure of the hotel and catering industry. Nevertheless, the SME Brouwerij Huyghe looks ahead, continues to invest, innovate and has the ambition to become the greenest brewery in Belgium. The brewery made a virtue of necessity, and thanks to a financial buffer and the revival of a number of export markets during the summer months, it was able to invest €9 million last year.
Revival of export markets
The coronacrisis hit Brouwerij Huyghe hard. Despite a 15% loss of turnover, the company invested 9 million euros this year. This investment is due to a financial buffer, and to a number of export markets that are recovering. In the United States, for example, the brewery is seeing slightly positive figures again, and China is even showing slight growth. In recent years, fruit beers and Delirium Tremens, known for its pink elephant, have been scoring well in China.
A green ambition
Saving raw materials with new starch hammer mill
Brouwerij Huyghe has the ambition to become the most sustainable brewery in Belgium. It therefore invested €162,000 in a new hammer mill, which crushes grains of malt into starch. By optimally crushing the barley malt into starch, 4.5% more sugar is released into the mash, allowing more alcohol to be obtained after fermentation. A good example of saving raw materials!
More sustainable water consumption
As an extension of the Green Deal Brewers, Brouwerij Huyghe also invested in measures for more sustainable water consumption. The crisis proved to be the moment to break open the courtyard of the Melle site. Usually about 20 trucks drive onto the site every day, but because of the lockdown it came to a complete standstill. So it was time to install three pipes: one to convey waste water to the new water purification buffer basin, a second to centralise rainwater from as many roofs as possible in underground buffer tanks and a third pipe for course water. With the rainwater, the brewery can thus also clean the filters of the water treatment plant itself, saving purified wastewater.
Gin(ie) in a bottle
In Melle, the pink elephant of Delirium Tremens is now a real household name. The product porfolio of Delirium counts 7 different beers that are available in more than 100 countries. But now the brewery adds 3 drinks: a blond and brown beer that matures for 9 months are bourbon barrels, and a gin-variant! "Hopefully the Delirium Gin - just like Tremens - will soon conquer the whole world", hopes CEO Alain De Laet.