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1871: The origin
In 1871, Jan-Leonard Moortgat, son of a brewer’s family from Steenhuffel, founds the Duvel Moortgat farm brewery together with his wife Maria De Block. At that time, the newly born brewery is only one of the 4,000 breweries in Belgium around the turn of the century. The start is not exactly easy: Jan-Leonard does some pioneering work during those first years, trying to sell a number of high fermentation beers like Stavelot. With varying success. Thanks to a combination of perseverance, brewer’s passion and craftsmanship, Jan-Leonard Moortgat gradually builds a loyal client base for his high fermentation beers. The middle classes of Brussels also appreciate his beers, and he is able to open a depot in Laken. The start, as it turns out, of a success story that has already lasted for 130 years.
1900: The second Moortgat generation
Around the turn of the century, Jan-Leonard’s sons Albert and Victor join the business. Albert becomes the brewer, Victor takes care of deliveries by horse and cart to Brussels. English ales enjoy considerable popularity during this period. The First World War brings them to Belgium.
1918-1923: The prelude to a successful product
Albert decides to be part of the English ale success story by creating a beer in line with the great English ales. Hence a sample of local yeast is indispensable, so Albert heads for Scotland. After a true Odyssey, he finally gets hold of the desired sample. Cultivated yiest from the same source is being used up until the present day!
1923: The launch of Duvel
Initially, the beer is baptised “Victory Ale” to commemorate the end of the First World War. Until shoemaker Van De Wouwer changes history when he describes the beer as “nen echten Duvel” or “a true Devil” during a tasting. Divine inspiration? From 1923 onward, the beer is sold under this name. Production starts slowly with only a few crates in 1923. The beginning of the seventies is the era of the big breakthrough, when a well-thought out marketing strategy educates an ever-increasing number of people about the qualities of Duvel. Real lovers probably know that a variant of the classic Red Duvel exists, this being Green Duvel. It was created in the sixties for the ‘Gentse Feesten’, Europe’s most important open-air festival, that was looking for a lighter beer at the time. Green Duvel is still available in the core region around the brewery as well as in a number of select hotel and catering outlets in Brussels. As a tribute to the success of its flag-bearer, the group is renamed from Moortgat to Duvel Moortgat at the time of its listing on the Euronext stock exchange.
1930: The creation of Bel Pils
Bel Pils, Duvel Moortgat’s luxury Pilsner, has experienced a turbulent period of name changes. It is created in 1930 as Extra Blond. From ’76 tot ’91, Bel Pils is known as Extra Pilsner, only to receive its final name in 1991. Because of its bitter taste, Bel Pils is one of the most authentic and traditional Belgian Pilsners. The beer owes its typical character to the use of Saaz hops.
1945: The Vedett story
In 1945, a third brewery stayer, the low fermentation premium beer Vedett sees the light of day. Originally, the beer follows in the trails of the Export beers, popular at that time. In 1965 however, Vedett is born. Vedett finds acceptance quickly in a number of local pubs around the brewery. Following its recent success in a quickly increasing number of trendy pubs, the most eccentric Duvel Moortgat beer has been given its own sales team and
1963: Licence and start of production of the Maredsous abbey beers.
When the Maredsous abbey wants to improve the quality of its beers, it searches for a dignified successor to brew its beers. On the advice of the KUL, the Belgian Catholic University, the abbey contacts Duvel Moortgat, already renowned for its craftsmanship and beers of the highest quality and purity.
Under licence to the "Fromagerie et Brasserie de Maredsous" and under strict supervision of the monks, Duvel Moortgat from then on brews, bottles and sells the Maredsous range: a blond variant with 6% alcohol content, a brown one with 8% alcohol content and a triple one with 10% alcohol content that joins the family in 1990.
End of the sixties: Creation of the Duvel glass
Duvel is and remains unique, despite its many imitators. At the end of the sixties, the Duvel glass is the first tulip shaped glass that allows a full 33-centilitre bottle to be poured in one glass. No similar beer glasses had existed up until that time. The glass is completely attuned to an ever more complete experience of the beer: The round shape releases Duvel’s heavenly flavours and aromas. Since the glass narrows towards the top, it helps to preserve carbon dioxide and therefore the head. It also allows a better division between beer and froth in the same glass, where a classical glass would leave only froth.
The inner circle inside the bottom of the Duvel glass also causes the subtle sparkling of the beer up to its luxurious head. For the last couple of years, this engraving has been in the shape of a ‘D’, the first letter of the Duvel logo!
1970: The beginning of Duvel’s international expansion strategy
In the mid-seventies, the Duvel Moortgat beers start to build themselves a reputation abroad, a success owed mostly to Duvel. The first export initiatives cannot be held back any longer: first in the Netherlands, but the other neighbouring countries also follow quickly. Today, the beer is available in all parts of the world.
June 1999: A listing on the Brussels Euronext stock exchange.
In 1999, the former farm brewery has expanded into one of the most important Belgian brewery groups. In order to accelerate growth and to assure continuity for the company, the company is listed on the Brussels Euronext Stock Exchange. Since June 2002, Duvel Moortgat has also been part of Euronext’s NextPrime segment, bringing together companies from traditional sectors of the economy. As a result of its participation in NextPrime, Duvel Moortgat is committing itself to compliance with a number of additional rules for disclosure and liquidity. In this way, Duvel Moortgat is ensuring its investors of a high level of financial transparency consistent with the most exacting international standards.
2001: Internationalization Duvel Moortgat
These past years, Duvel Moortgat has reinforced its position in the Netherlands and has laid the foundations for further growth in France, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Duvel remains the spearhead of the group’s future export efforts. Duvel Moortgat will also seize every opportunity to identify further export markets in the future.
August 2001: a 50% participation in the Bernard brewery, a Czech brewer of premium beers.
As the birthplace of Pilsner beers and the country with the greatest total beer consumption per capita (160 litres per capita), the Czech Republic is an interesting market for Duvel Moortgat’s international expansion, especially as Duvel Moortgat is convinced that mature beer markets have the most potential for the growth of speciality beers. In addition, the country is an excellent starting point for Central Europe. Duvel Moortgat has found an appropriate partner in the Czech Bernard brewery, an important niche player in the field of premium beers. Thanks to the exchange of know-how and experience in the field of production and marketing, Bernard is now positioning itself as a premium beer brewery. Today, Bernard beers are present in most national supermarket chain stores and in a number of important hotel and catering outlets.
January 2003: The acquisition of the American Ommegang brewery and the distribution rights for the East Coast of the US.
As more and more Americans are learning to appreciate Belgian beers in 2002, Duvel Moortgat guesses that the time is ripe to consolidate its presence in the United States. On the East Coast, the group acquires the distribution rights for Duvel from Vanberg & Dewulf and raises its stake in BelÃ¢me (Ommegang brewery) to 100% at the beginning of January 2003. Belukus is charged with import on the West Coast. At the same time, the group employs a local American sales team. The Ommegang Brewery sells Ommegang, Ommegang Witte, Hennepin, Rare Vos and Three Philosophers, all of which are American artisan speciality beers brewed according to the best Belgian brewing tradition. This has given Duvel a foothold in 2 of the most dynamic beer segments in the United States: the import market for Belgian speciality beers and the market of locally brewed artisan beers.
Have you always wondered about the magical brewing process that creates Duvel?
In the course of the 2 Â½ hour brewery tour, you will have a chance to discover and experience the complex brewing process that makes our Duvel so unique.
The brewery tour starts with a film presentation that provides background on the history of the Duvel Moortgat brewery and gives an overview of those steps in the brewing process which, for safety reasons, are not accessible to the public.
After that, your tour of the brewery begins. You will visit the brewing hall, the cylindroconical tanks and the bottling plant.
The tour ends with a product tasting, because after all, it would be a shame to leave a brewery tour thirsty, wouldn’t it!
At our Duvelshop, a small souvenir of your visit awaits you.
Reservations can be made online on www.duvel.be
Brewery tours are available for groups starting from a minimum of 15 people up to
70 people maximum. Naturally, it is also possible to join another group of 15 or more.
On working days, tours are given starting at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. or 7 p.m.
On Saturdays, there are two tours available: at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The cost of the visit is € 6.00 per person, of which € 1.00 is donated to charity.
For schools and students, there is a special rate of € 5.00 per person.
Visitors’ centre Duvel Depot
The Duvelshop is located next to the brewery, Breendonkdorp 66 in Puurs, and is open on Saturday afternoons (except for holidays) between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and after a visit to our company.
The shop offers a wide range of items: Duvel gift sets, various gadgets such as bottle openers, but also, for example, Duvel mirrors.
Duvel clothing such as T-shirts, aprons & caps are also available. And of course we sell beer glasses for Duvel, Chouffe, Maredsous, Vedett and Liefmans.