Although there are a surging number of subscription beer clubs in the UK, many are arguably missing out on one of the greatest advantages presented by the subscription option – mobility in terms of product offerings.
There are elite options, but the bulk of new clubs in the UK have understandably focused on the British craft beer boom and the swathe of ground-breaking new breweries in this country. Naturally there are also exceptions to this rule.
Belgibeer offers a different prospect – sourced Belgian beers from the home of complex, wine-like brewing techniques. Its strategic location in Europe also allows it to target the entire continent.
Craft Beer World caught up with the team to learn more about their business strategy and plans for the future.
Can you tell us more about the history and concept behind BelgiBeer?
Belgibeer began its journey in December 2011 focusing exclusively on B2B exports to other countries. Since then, we walked a long road, which included the opening of a very successful e-commerce website in October 2013.
Belgibeer was then created as an online beer club aimed at discovering the diversity and culture of traditional Belgian beers. We are selling beer boxes containing 2x 4 different products from a microbrewery, a magazine we design ourselves about the beers and some coasters. In addition to this, the client can add as many extras as he likes, like beer sausages, beer mustards, beer chocolates and many others…
Our platform is active on two aspects: allowing less known yet excellent Belgian beers be discovered by the general public. The market is currently dominated by industrial beers and we want to go against it because the real products of Belgium are actually the small breweries that are not very well known but are worth fighting for.
We knew Belgibeer had the right concept, since it focused on better representing minor unknown craft Belgian beers. We quickly received backing from brewers who praised our work and encouraged us to move forward on our path. And we did. Perhaps the concept was so good that we even inspired some of our competitors to copy our business model.
Since October 2013, the concept has grown exponentially, and we can firmly state that our sales double every year! From a small 10m2 garage in Flanders, we moved right into the heart of Brussels, with 40m2 of offices and 600m2 of warehouse, serving between 1.500 and 2.000 clients monthly.
Has the explosion of interest in new beer styles across Europe benefitted Belgian beer?
Belgian beers remain famous worldwide independently from the style explosions across Europe or America. Consider wine: British sparkling wine qualifies as superior to champagne but guess what? Champagne remains champagne. Belgian beer will forever remain Belgian beer with its culture and history.
What made you fall in love with Belgian beer – and why should more people try it?
I fell in love with Belgian beers the day I walked into a Belgian Brewery as a young engineer. At the time I was a pipeline engineer and sometimes I was called into breweries to make new installations. While I was visiting a brewery I fell in love with the smell of the ingredients and the general brewing process. That’s when I decided to do something about it and I created Belgibeer, with the intention of giving more visibility to those craft yet unknown minor Belgian Brewers.
What are the benefits of using Belgibeer over buying through a shop?
Well you don’t have to move! No but seriously, the breweries we are working with are sometimes not even in the specialized shops. You might find them in Belgium but around the world, not really. Moreover, our concept is not only selling you the beers, it’s also a magazine going with it to really understand the history of the brewery and the beers. In addition to this, you can complete your experience with some food pairing that is just perfect with a good beer.
Do you have one of the best jobs in the world – getting to try all this beer?
What can we say. We love our job.
Can you tell us something about your company that not a lot of people know?
One of our first ever client was a German person who purchased one of our boxes way back in 2013. This person prematurely died a year ago at the age of 50. At his funeral, our beer box subscription service was mentioned during a speech right inside the church and how much he used to love our beer concept.