The oldest and most authentic brewery in Wallonia
The roots of Brasserie Dubuisson are in the distant past. Furthermore, this brewery is able to lay claim to a badge of honour that is envied by many of its rivals: it is the oldest brewery in Wallonia.
Brasserie Dubuisson was founded in 1769 by Joseph Leroy, an ancestor on the maternal side of the current owner, Hugues Dubuisson.
In its current location, eight generations of Dubuisson brewers have passed on their skills father to son, and this family-owned brewery remains independent to this day.
In fact, the family brewing tradition goes back even further. Before 1769, Joseph Leroy and his team brewed beer in Ghissegnies Castle, directly opposite the current brewery.
The Austrian Holy Roman Empress, Maria-Theresa, put an end to the unfair advantage enjoyed by castle breweries, who were exempt from paying tax. And, when in 1769 a general prohibition on castle breweries was declared, Joseph Leroy decided to set up his own brewery in what is still the home of the Dubuisson Brewery’s. Joseph established himself as an independent farmer-brewer, a small operator brewing the beer enjoyed by the local farm workers.
It wasn’t until many years later, in 1931, that Alfred Dubuisson closed down the farm to become a full-time brewer. With his brother, Amédée Dubuisson, he bought his parents’ farm-brewery and renamed the business Brasserie Dubuisson Frères.
Between its foundation in 1769 and the year 1931, European history marched past this little farm business. Napoleon’s troops put up their tents here at the start of the 19th century. The brewery was requisitioned by the Germans in 1914 (and then again in 1940). However, the Dubuisson family turned their fortunes around every single time, re-building their premises and renovating their equipment.
In 1933 Hugues’ grandfather, Alfred Dubuisson, launched a Belgian degustation beer in the style of the English beers that were so fashionable in those days. This is how the Bush Beer, the English name for Dubuisson Bier, first saw the light. The Bush Beer recipe has remained unchanged for 80 years and Bush/Scaldis is now one of the oldest Belgian brands on the beer market. Ever since its foundation, Brasserie Dubuisson has remained true to its basic principles and values:
- a 100% independent brewery
- the production of 100% natural beers without artificial additives
- a refusal to produce label beers (the same beer marketed under different names)
- complete control of the brewing process without outsourcing
A brewery with its eyes on the future
In 1990 Hugues Dubuisson opened a new era of development for his company with a steady expansion of the brewery’s range, adding:
- Scaldis de Noel in 1991,
- Scaldis Blond in 1998,
- Cuvée des Trolls in 2000,
- Pêche Mel Scaldis in 2009,
- Surfine in 2014,
- Scaldis Prestige de Charmes in 2015
From 2000, the brewery’s development accelerated further with the founding of two microbreweries in Louvain-la-Neuve and Mons (Bergen) and the unveiling of a new visitors’ centre in Pipaix.
Over the last five years, production has more than doubled, from 2.4 million litres in 2009 to more than 5 million litres in 2013.
Such an impressive growth rate requires significant investments in infrastructure: for fermentation, bottling, a barrel line, new storage facilities, warm chambers and so on.
In 2013, Brasserie Dubuisson completed its €5-million investment programme for future growth and expansion. The crowning glories were the inauguration of a new brewing hall and expansion of the fermentation tanks, allowing the brewery to double its production to over 10 million litres per annum. This new brewing hall has been in operation since the end of 2013.
Safeguarding the environment
Throughout this expansion programme, the brewery has not forgotten its environmental footprint. Solar panels cover 900m2 of the roof of the new storage facility. And Brasserie Dubuisson now uses energy-saving technology; for example, it recycles the thermal energy generated in the brewing hall.
Last but not least...
Exports grow in importance year after year. Around 44% of the total 2014 production is destined for export. Dubuisson beers can now be found in 35 countries, including European neighbours such as France, Italy and Switzerland, as well as far-flung destinations such as the United Stated, Australia, Vietnam and Chile.