Xavier Van Honsebrouck
Flanders Oud Bruin, Quadrupel, Fruit Beer, Triple, Gueuze
The roots of Van Honsebrouck brewery can be traced back to Werken, a small rural Belgian village where Amandus Van Honsebrouck (1811-1865) was mayor and ran a farmstead with a dairy farm, brewery and distillery. When Amandus passed away, his son Emile took over the brewery with his wife Louise.
There was conflict between Emile’s mother and Louise, so the couple decided to leave Werken and start their own brewery in 1900 on a small farm in Ingelmunster, Louise’s birthplace. They called it Sint Jozef.
In 1922, when Emile was almost eighty years old, he and Louise left the brewery to their son Paul. Paul and his brother Ernest expanded the brewery in 1930 with a new four-story building. In 1945, the brothers started to specialize in exporting and brewing beer, but in 1953, Paul fell ill. The brewery was left to Paul’s son Luc who went to Germany to study brewing.
After his studies, Luc launched Bacchus brown ale in 1955. The next year, he changed the name of the brewery to Vanhonsebrouck. Around 1975, Bacchus became a breakthrough beer for the brewery, and the business continued to grow. The Vanhonsebrouck family purchased a castle in Ingelmunster in 1986 which was the inspiration for Kasteel Donker, the first specialty beer in the Castle range which featured the castle on its label.
In 2009, Luc’s son Xavier took over the family business and in 2016, the Ingelmunster brewery closed for good to allow for the opening of a new brewery in Izegem. The new site cost over $40 million Euros and took two years to build. It is five times bigger than the old brewery in Ingelmuster and is considered the most modern brewery in Europe.
2019 was a year full of firsts for the family brewery which is still managed by Xavier. There was a rebranding of the Kasteel beers, with the Ingelmunster Castle disappearing from the beer label to make way for a sleek, modern design. The highlight of 2019 was the launch of the in-house canning line. Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck is the first Belgian brewery of specialty beers to purchase its own production line for canned beer. This innovation is an important step toward a sustainable future because aluminum cans are easier to recycle and transport than bottles. The brewery also developed plastic-free packaging with paper packaging for the cans and pallet foil wrap made of sugar cane.
The US-market beers are now exclusively Nitro canned beers. The addition of nitrogen gives beer a smoother, creamier texture than bottled beer. It allows drinkers to experience the beer as they would at a pub, but it is now a luxury to drink them anywhere. Simply shake the can three times to enjoy the modern nitro-infused experience from this historic brewery.