Melle, June 6, 2024 - After the granting of a new environmental permit, Brewery Huyghe – worldwide known for Delirium Tremens and the pink elephant - is ready to roll out its investment plans of 50 million euros. These must ensure that the brewery can grow even further, become more sustainable and at the same time further boost beer tourism in its own region.

An important part of this investment is the construction of the Delirium Experience Center (€10 million), an interactive visitor experience in the old brewery buildings. This center, equipped with four event rooms, will tell the story of the brewery and Belgian beer culture, which was declared world heritage by UNESCO in 2016.

Alain De Laet, CEO of the brewery, explains: “I am proud to be part of the 4th generation that wants to put this family brewery and its globally celebrated beer culture on the map. With these investments, I want to further prepare our financially healthy company for the 5th generation, who is already eager to come on board. In addition, the Experience Center will attract additional beer tourists to Melle, from which local businesses will also benefit.”

The goal of the Delirium Experience Center is to increase the annual number of visitors from 12,000 to 50,000. For visitors to the experience center, a new parking lot for 65 cars will be constructed (€250,000), and the existing parking facilities will be doubled (€100,000). Thanks to the nearby station and bus stops, the brewery is also easily accessible by public transport. In addition, the current Eikerwegel footpath will be extended and renovated (€400,000) into a two-way cycle path of four meters wide, entirely at the expense of the brewery. After these works, this cycle path (1,500m²) will be transferred free of charge to the municipality of Melle, so that everyone can enjoy it.




Sustainable Growth

To increase its production capacity and thus facilitate further growth, the brewery is building a new bottle bottling line with a capacity of 40,000 bottles per hour (€10 million) and a new canning line (€5 million). As a result, cans no longer have to be filled in France. This not only makes the production process more efficient, it also ensures a better ecological footprint because transport to and from France is eliminated. 

Furthermore, the storage capacity will be expanded with 11,000 m2 of warehouses (10 million €), including an automatic high-stack warehouse of 18 meters high (8 million €). Today, +-4,000m² of external warehouses are still used, which will no longer be needed, which will again eliminate a lot of freight traffic.

In line with its ambition to become the greenest brewery in the country, Brewery Huyghe has been investing significantly in sustainability since 2008. In recent years, additional solar panels have been installed and a combined heat and power (CHP) installation has been installed that uses biogas from anaerobic water purification. These measures ensure that the brewery currently produces approximately 50% of its own green energy. With the installation of additional solar panels (700,000 €) on the new buildings, this share will increase to approximately 90%. In addition, new sustainable cooling units (600,000 €) ensure a further reduction in energy consumption. The compressed air compressors (€250,000) are also being renewed, resulting in a 5% improvement in efficiency and energy recovery.

Brewery Huyghe has also made impressive progress in the field of water management. It is the only brewery that converts more than 65% of its treated wastewater into drinkable water. Thanks to an additional 'reverse osmosis' installation at the water treatment plant in 2016 and 2019, 45,000 cubic meters of water is now reused annually. The additional roof area of ​​the new warehouses will also provide the opportunity to reuse up to a further 9,000 cubic meters of rainwater per year for applications such as washing barrels and bins.

This year, the brewery is also investing in its own CO2 recovery installation (€1,500,000), which recovers the naturally generated CO2 from beer fermentation, purifies it and reuses it to saturate beer and make installations oxygen-free. Although this investment is only profitable for large breweries, the brewery consciously chose to implement it for sustainability reasons. In addition, the CO2 supply crisis of 2022 was an additional motivation to invest in the continuity and independence of the brewery.


Alain de Laet

In addition, the brewery is starting the electrification of its fleet by installing 12 semi-public charging stations (€150,000) in the brewery's parking lot. This investment contributes to a significant mobility improvement and supports the brewery's broader sustainability goals.

Investments must also be made in additional empty barrels and containers (€2,300,000). The further automation of the production process, including automatic volume measurement and alcohol determination per fermentation tank, will require an investment of €750,000.

In addition, Brewery Huyghe has been participating in the VOKA sustainable entrepreneurship charter for more than 13 years, in which it promises to realize at least 10 improvement actions every year based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Alain De Laet adds: “Although it is becoming increasingly difficult to find areas for improvement, we continue to raise the bar for ourselves. I would like to thank my technical and environmental team for their perseverance to continuously improve our ecological profile. Sustainability is no longer a goal in itself, it has become part of our DNA. It sets us apart from the rest and we are quite proud of that. We are doing everything we can to become the most sustainable brewer in the country.” 


Alain de Laet
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