No.1 travel guide for Belgium. Discover Belgian beer and food in Ghent.

A visit to beer wholesaler and retailer Dranken Geers


Email  •  Print

Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2015-12-21 18:31:20 +0100 / Last Updated: 12 months ago

Aged Liefmans Goudenband at Dranken Geers Aged Liefmans Goudenband
© BeerTourism.com


OOSTAKKER/GHENT - Beer lovers need no introduction to Dranken Geers, a wholesaler and retailer in Oostakker, a village in the vicinity of Ghent. The shelves here are groaning under the Dranken Geers, Dominiek Geers Dominiek Geers
© BeerTourism.com
weight of around eight hundred different Belgian beers.

The Geers family have been ‘doing’ beer for hundreds of years.

In the 18th century they set up a village brewery on the site that is now home to the shop. “There used to be six breweries in our village,” Dominiek Geers, the owner, tells us.

“My ancestors were brewing top-fermented beers to serve from the tap."

"Flip-top bottles were also in use as long as two hundred years ago. In fact we’ve still got a few at home.”

Achiel Geers, Dominiek’s grandfather, wound up the brewery during the Second World War.

At that point, the Germans had depleted the brewhall of its copper; money to put the brewery back on its feet was in short supply and moreover, there was steep competition from pils beers. Hubert, Dominiek’s father, set up his drinks business in the 1960s with an initial focus on the distribution of pils beers. Westvleteren, Sint Sixtus Vintage Westvleteren straight from the cellar
© BeerTourism.com

Twenty years on, specialty beers were all the rage and the business was quick to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Before long, we were offering over a hundred specialty beers,” Dominiek tells us.

“One of the first was Brouwerij Van Eecke's Hommelbier."

"After a visit to ‘de Hoppestoet’ in Poperinge we placed an order directly with the brewer."

"He asked us straight away what on earth we were thinking: trying to sell his beer in Ghent. Beer in those days was pretty much confined to the local market – hard to imagine nowadays.”


Dranken Geers Dominiek's brewing ancestors
© BeerTourism.com


Don’t kill the taste buds

“Sales of specialty beers have been increasing steadily over the last twenty years,” Dominiek Geers comments. “Also, we are now acting as a distributor on behalf of most of the established breweries.” Dranken Geers, Dominiek Geers Time-to-taste
© BeerTourism.com

Dranken Geers supplies around two hundred hotels, cafés and restaurants in and around Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges and Kortrijk. The business also enjoys a modest export trade to Germany, Denmark and Italy.

This beer trader is closely observing what is happening in the market, both at home and abroad. Son Bert and daughter Leen are keeping a close watch on social media so they can quickly pick up on new trends.

Geers has recently added British craft beers to its range: Brewed by Numbers, Brewdog and The Kernel for example.

“We stock all of the Belgian classics, including a large number of lambic beers and Trappists. Besides, we attract the beer connoisseurs with limited editions or rare beers from microbreweries.”

As to Dominiek, he has a weak spot for character beers with a distinctive, pure taste. “I love dry-bitter beers like a saison or IPA (India Pale Ale),” Dominiek confesses.

His particular favourites include the slightly bitter but thirst-quenching brews from Brasserie Dupont, Brasserie de la Senne, De Ranke and Brouwers Verzet. “I’d like to drink something else afterwards,” Dominiek explains. “If the beer is too bitter or too sour, it kills the taste buds.”


Dranken Geers The current generation: Dominique, Bert, Katleen and Vera
© BeerTourism.com


Taste and learn

So, who makes up the customer base of Dranken Geers? It comprises your average beer lover as well as beer geeks, so we are told. Customers travel far and wide to lay their hands on Oerbier, Dolle Brouwers Oerbier by Dolle Brouwers
© BeerTourism.com
something special, putting their trust in Dominiek’s expertise.

He often joins the judging panel of prestigious beer contests, the Brussels Beer Challenge to name but one.

This beer trader makes the case for cooking with beer and beer pairing. He is benefiting from popular televised cookery programmes such as ‘Dagelijkse kost’ (Everyday meals).

Dominiek, with a smile: “Every time the programme is broadcast, we get plenty of people popping in asking for ‘the beer that was on the television’.

Also, cooking with beer is increasingly popular and more and more people serve beer on the side. Beer is taking up its rightful place in a greater number of restaurants.

Still, it is a shame that far too many restaurant owners are ignoring beer due to its relatively low profit margin.”

The beer wholesaler is now also supplying beer festivals abroad including Villagio della Birra and Zythos in Italy. This only goes to show that Belgian beer is highly prized, even in a traditional wine country.


More Information

Dranken Geers
Ledergemstraat 7
B-9041 Oostakker
Belgium

Website: www.drankengeers.be
Facebook: Dranken Geers


Ghent Blog Posts

Beer lovers flock to Ghent for third Great Belgian Beer Dinner
GHENT - Five chefs, one beer sommelier, nine dishes and as many beers in an exceptional location are the ingredients that make up a successful Great Belgian Beer Dinner, which recently descended on th ... [ read more ]

Comments



SHARE:
 



BLOG

POSTS
Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon, beers with a soul

ARLON/AARLEN - Beer trader and sommelier Christophe Gillard of Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon in Aarlen (Arlon) isn’t one for beating around the bush: “I only sell beers that have my complete support, usually from brewers I know per... [ more ]

Erik's Highlights: Délices & Caprices, Brussels

BRUSSELS - With its fragrant name, Délices & Caprices is a destination not to be missed by any beer lover travelling to Brussels. What’s the secret? Everyone feels at home with Ann and Pierre Zuber who are happy to b... [ more ]

Belgian beer shops: Prik & Tik Marlou

ZONHOVEN/HASSELT - Drinks specialist Prik & Tik "Marlou" in Zonhoven near Hasselt is the type of shop that will feature in the dreams of any beer lover. “We have 1,000 Belgian beers in store, 400 in large bottles; ... [ more ]

Saint-martin_triple_brunehaut_225

More Beer

The Saint-Martin abbey beers are heirs to the former Abbey of Saint-Martin in Doornik (Tournai), one of the oldest cities in Belgium. The abbey was founded many centuries ago and c... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.

Name:
Email:
TWITTER
    FACEBOOK