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European News (Issue 26)

by Carolyn Smagalski 

First Ever Scottish Beer Awards

Scotland’s brewing landscape hit a high note this year, exploding into global prominence with the launch of the first ever Scottish Beer Awards. An independent panel of 19 leading experts, including such names as Hilary Jones (Chair), Dr. Bill Simpson, and author Roger Protz, judged the annual beer and business performance competition on May 31st, 2016 in Edinburgh.

Finalists were chosen from a field of 154 beers in the taste segment of the competition. The panel also scrutinized 55 entrants on innovation, export record, product development, business acumen and more.

Finalists for Scottish Brewery of the Year include Black Isle, BrewDog, Edinburgh Beer Factory, Fallen, and Tempest Brewing Company.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals will be presented on September 29, 2016 at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

Truth in Brewing

Dougal Sharp of Innis & Gunn believes it’s time for honesty and integrity in the U.S. Presidential Campaign. Weaving the magic of alchemy into Smoke & Mirrors, his latest innovative release, Sharp endeavored to extract the truth out of America’s candidates by personally sending bottles of the new release to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Brewed with licorice root, mullein and vine essence, the new beer should put an end to foggy memory and flabby allegations on the campaign trail. But since Trump is a teetotaler, there’s not much chance the truth serum will subdue his loose tongue.

Preserving the Pub

With the support of CAMRA, Geoff Brandwood has created a new edition of his book, Britain’s Best Real Heritage Pubs, featuring 260 UK pubs of historic significance. Long the force of positive community activity throughout Britain, the pub still lives within the hearts of its citizenry. The new edition focuses on watering holes with enduring legacies, traditionally unchanged for 70 to 100 years, as well as roadhouses, railway pubs, Victorian designs, and recent award winners. Released in time for the Great British Beer Festival in August, the new book has become a fan favorite and is expected to sell out by mid-September.

Historic Firsts for Great British Pubs

The Wandsworth Council of South London has logged a historic first, focused on preventing the demise of pubs of “historic or architectural value.” In a move which singled-out 120 pubs in the region, Council took steps to protect heritage pubs from being converted into flats or shops without prior approval of the councilors. CAMRA applauded the move, encouraging neighboring councils to follow the lead.


by Carl Kins

Show Me the Money

Brewery Het Anker in Mechelen sold a minority shareholder-ship to BNP Paribas Fortis bank for an expansion to the brewery, aimed at more than doubling the brewing capacity.

The Bosteels brewery shareholders, i.e. the family and the private equity company Waterland, which had bought circa 30 % about two years ago, were looking to sell out. In the Belgian press, speculation ran that Heineken and Duvel were possible take-over candidates. Meanwhile, ABI announced they have an agreement. I am convinced they paid a hefty price to keep Heineken from having the Bosteels brands (most importantly Tripel Karmeliet but also Kwak and finally Deus). So, you see, ABI not only buys US or Brazilian craft breweries, but also Belgians.  

New Breweries and/or Locations

There’s a new location for Annick De Splenter of the Ghent city brewery Gruut. At the end of August she officially opened her new spot in the Dodoensdreef, the street between Steendam and the Baudelopark. 

Armand Debelder’s LambikOdroom was officially opened in Lot (Molenstraat 47), close to the Senne river. The Lot location contains all except the brewery which remains in Beersel. So, that includes the beer storage, a tasting place, etc. while a Schaarbeekse kriek orchard is being planted.

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