No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

A view on Belgian beer culture with Hugues Dubuisson


Email  •  Print

Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2014-09-01 07:58:19 +0200 / Last Updated: over 1 year ago

Bush Ambrée and Bush Blonde from Brasserie Dubuisson Bush Ambrée and Bush Blonde
© BeerTourism.com


PIPAIX - Back in 1769. Yes, it was as long ago as this that the oldest brewery in Southern Belgium fired up the brewing kettles for the first time. Nowadays Dubuisson is owned by Hugues Dubuisson, Hugues Dubuisson, Dubuisson Hugues Dubuisson
© BeerTourism.com
an eighth-generation scion of this brewing dynasty.

Dubuisson is known for its Bush beers (known as Scaldis in the US), produces only its own beers, does not outsource any of its production, and is rightly proud of these achievements.

Thanks to the success of these beers, Dubuisson had to invest in a brand new brewing hall with a capacity of 10,000,000 litres.

Further investments are planned. These include new warm chambers (for re-fermentation), maturation and fermentation tanks, storage facilities, solar panels and energy recycling facilities.

The popularity of all Dubuisson beers, including the Cuvée des Trolls, is growing at a steady pace and exports account for 30 per cent of turnover. “Belgian beer is ‘hot’,” Hugues agrees. “But we cannot rest on our laurels by any means. You can also find excellent speciality beers in countries other than Belgium. Just look at the USA with its proliferation of microbreweries.”


Dubuisson, Bush beer The brewery
© BeerTourism.com


Cultural Differences

Almost immediately, the brewer points out important differences in the two countries’ beer cultures. He feels that the American scene is veering towards more extreme beers with short longevity. Pêche Mel, Dubuisson Pêche Mel
© BeerTourism.com
Over there, the brewer is the star and he has to come up with new 'hits' all the time.

“On our side of the pond, our centuries-old tradition is the starting point,” Hughes tells us.

“For us, a new beer has to make a tangible difference. We are also looking for balance in the glass, which is why we pay a great deal of attention to quality."

"Marketing used to be bottom of the list where Belgian brewers were concerned; their focus was on product rather than sales."

"However, times have changed. These days you have to have a very good idea of your target market before you even start brewing.”

Belgian brewers have started to realise this. They are proud of the identity of Belgian beers and unite behind joint projects such as the Beer Palace, a beer experience centre that is set to open in the heart of Brussels in 2018.


Dubuisson, Bush beer The courtyard of Dubuisson, where history and innovation meet
© BeerTourism.com


The Customer is King

The customer is at the very centre of this. And, he (or she) is increasingly demanding. Not only does he want variety in the glass, he also demands correct and transparent information - he must know who is brewing his beer Bush de Nuits, Dubuisson Bush de Nuits
© BeerTourism.com
and how.

That is why Hugues Dubuisson set up the Belgian Family Brewers (BFB).

This association now numbers 22 members, all of them family breweries that have been producing beer in Belgium for 50 uninterrupted years. The BFB logo can only be used on branded beers.

In this way, the brewers want to act against the unregulated growth of so-called label beers.

These are the product of the practice of selling the same beer under different labels. Some beer recipes are sold under dozens of different names.

“Transparency is the key,” Hugues says. “The BFB logo is a guarantee that you are drinking ‘the one and only X beer from the X brewery’.” When ‘Belgian style beers’ started to appear from various places, a group of Belgian brewers took the time to draw up definitions of the country’s legendary beer styles.


Dubuisson, Bush beer The brewing hall
© BeerTourism.com


Preservation

In Belgium family-owned breweries are playing a crucial role. In fact, the survival of some traditional beer styles - witbier, saison, oude geuze, lambic… - can be attributed to them. They were also instrumental in Dubuisson, Bush beer Visiting the brewery
© BeerTourism.com
preserving the national culture of top-fermented beers.

“The Belgian brewers have a captivating story that is not known well enough just yet. Our aim is to make everybody aware of the authentic character, longstanding tradition and overwhelming taste diversity offered by the better Belgian beers.”

Dubuisson is putting his money where his mouth is.

The brewery has around 5,000 visitors every year. They will be immersed in the rich history of the firm, taste the beers, and then tell friends and family about their experiences.

This is what sets the ball rolling. “We aim to strengthen the link between brewer and beer drinker,” Hugues Dubuisson explains.

“Our visitors discover who produces the beer and what is involved. The brewer knows his craft. From his vast expertise and experience he picks out the knowledge required to produce a particular beer.

He will use science and industrial tools but at the end of the day, it is the brewer who determines the quality in the glass.”


Dubuisson, Bush beer A Bush chef in action
© BeerTourism.com


A Status Symbol

The tide has turned: beer is evolving into a status symbol. This drink with a somewhat lower-class image is now taking on the allure of a grand cru wine vintage. Brewers introduce exclusive beers that are only available Dubuisson, Bush Beer Bush Prestige
© BeerTourism.com
for a limited time or in a limited volume.

The consumer likes to distinguish himself through his chosen drink and wants to know more and more about it.

“This is a great opportunity for the Belgian brewers,” Hugues Dubuisson says.

“After all, we have unique products and a strong and consistent story. Just take a look at gastronomy and beer pairing. We have a world of taste to offer to chefs and sommeliers.

"Personally, I am very much in favour of beer pairing. Belgian beer is finally earning its stripes. It is no longer considered a downmarket product. People now appreciate its unique taste."

"Moreover, many beers form an excellent combination with various foods. Beers are refreshing with their sweet, sour or slightly bitter notes. Also, beer aids digestion. I have already discovered several beautiful combinations.”

Finally, the brewer keeps an eye on what is happening in the market. In addition to the main brewery in Pipaix, Dubuisson runs two microbreweries (in Louvain-la-Neuve and Mons). There, you can drink a beer brewed before your very eyes as well as the familiar Dubuisson beers.


Recent Blog Posts

Omer Vander Ghinste celebrates 125 years of brewing craftsmanship
KORTRIJK/BELLEGEM - It was in 1892 that Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste opened for business in Bellegem, a village near Kortrijk in West Flanders, close to the French border. Since then, ... [ read more ]
Brasserie de Brunehaut - In tune with the seasons
RONGY - In Rongy and all around it, spring is in the air. The fruit trees are in bloom and nature has put on its most beautiful face. I’m on my way to Brasserie de Brunehaut, a brewery surrounded by o ... [ read more ]
Westmalle Dubbel or Westmalle Tripel?
WESTMALLE - If you order a Westmalle you’re likely to be served with a Tripel. This is no coincidence as this strong blonde Trappist beer now accounts for 75% of the beer output of this abbey brewery. ... [ read more ]
Amburon Belgian Craftbrewery - A new brewery in Belgium’s oldest city
TONGEREN - After a fifty-year wait the moment has finally arrived. Once again, the city of Tongeren can boast its own brewery and city beers. The story commences with the 2009 ... [ read more ]
Luc De Laet, the brewer's butcher...
ANTWERP - Why would a butcher open a store at a brewery? The question doesn’t throw Luc De Laet, the man who has done just that at the De Koninck brewery. “We share our respect for traditional crafts, ... [ read more ]

Comments


You must be logged in to leave a comment


SHARE:
 



BLOG

POSTS
Bush beer pairing at Le Château du Mylord

ELLEZELLES - As many as 34 years ago Jean-Baptiste Thomaes, at the ripe young age of 22, set up the prestigious establishment of Le Château du Mylord in Ellezelles, a village close to Ronse and Oudenaarde. ... [ more ]

Holiday beer and cheese pairing with Dubuisson

PIPAIX/MECHELEN - We all know that beer and cheese are made for one another, and to illustrate this Brasserie Dubuisson gathered a panel of beer and cheese experts to discover the best pairings. ... [ more ]

From tank to tap: Dubuisson's Brasse-Temps

MONS / LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE - In September 2000, Brasserie Dubuisson unveiled its Le Brasse-Temps café-brewery in the university city of Louvain-la-Neuve. Three years on, a second brewpub bearing the ... [ more ]

Surfine season at Dubuisson

PIPAIX - When a brewery with a history stretching back over two hundred years (1769) starts digging around in its rich past, hidden treasures sometimes come to light. And this is exactly what happened. http:... [ more ]

On the Dubuisson beer trail in Tournai

TOURNAI/DOORNIK - Only a long stone’s throw away from Brasserie Dubuisson lies one of the oldest cities in Belgium. When I hear the name of Tournai (Doornik), colourful images from the history books ... [ more ]

Surfine_saison_dubuisson_225

More Beer

Surfine is a hidden gem that shone out when the extensive back catalogue of the Dubuisson Brewery was explored. A search through the brewery’s archives brought to light a brand tha... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

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

Name:
Email:
TWITTER
    FACEBOOK