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Disruptive forces in the Belgian beer brewing world

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The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about the rise of disruptors in the clubby world of Belgian brewers. Belgium has long enjoyed a two tier world of beer. Mass market beers like Stella, Leffe, Palm, etc share space with hallowed but very small craft brewers and Trappists as everyone looks down on outsiders. Now that's changing.


The article says that crowd sourced recipes, beers developed through taste testing, beers produced by online efforts are now getting attention. These custom blends are then produced by contract brewers (alors!).



“We’re the antithesis of the old theory that there’s a relationship between God and what’s in the beer glass,” said the co-founder of the Brussels Beer Project, a collective of beer creators who get others to brew for them.

He creates beers with the aid of mass tastings, crowdsourced recipes and Internet forums. And then he gets someone else to brew them. “I get frustrated at people acting like the guardians of the temple of brewing culture.”


This heresy is not going over well. The purists want the name of the contract brewery printed on the bottle. Other contract brewers are offering "so you think you can brew" contests to amateurs, further clouding the sacred traditions of learned expertise.


Some Belgians want laws to stop this travesty. Others would prefer to try new beers. Part of the problem is that starting a new brewery isn't cheap. Failed batches, negative cash flow, etc. Short cutting those steps and contracting the brewing creates an immediate cash flow.





Brussels Beer Project



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