Developments in beer: nearly 500 Dutch brewers in 2017What do brewers think of the growing number of breweries?
According to the latest count of the Stichting Erfgoed Nederlandse Biercultuur [Dutch Beer Culture Heritage Foundation], the Netherlands currently has 482 breweries. By comparison, in 1980 there were just 18! In 2000 we counted 66 and only in 2008 did we surpass 100. From 2013, the growth was astronomical: by the end of that year, the Netherlands had a little over 200 breweries and four years later, that number has doubled.
It’s a well-known fact that not all breweries have their own kettles: they rent from third parties and are known as brewery tenants. They make up more than half of the total, which can only be a good thing. The likelihood of all 482 breweries still existing in five years is probably around 40%; the likelihood of being able to acquire a relatively inexpensive second-hand brewing installation is higher. But more interesting is how brewers are looking to colleagues who aren’t manning the kettles themselves. Emotions can run high on this topic, with opinions roughly divided into two sentiments: those who see brewery tenants as respected colleagues, and those who have few good things to say about them.
Starting a brewery requires capital: count on anything from a few thousand to several million if you want a decent brewery of any size. Not everyone can raise that sort of cash. Add to this the fact that few breweries can reach their full production capacity and it no longer seems unthinkable to test the water before you find yourself burdened with debt. Respected brewers, such as Michel Ordeman from Jopen, once began as brewery tenants.