Country: Belgium-7258
Product: Drinks
Topic: Employment, Growth, Exports, Challenges_and_opportunities

Tradition, combined with creativity, innovation and an open mind have been the winning ingredients behind the young start up that is now the city of Antwerp’s biggest independent brewery. Although only four years old, Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie now employs 14 people across Belgium and Holland and exports to countries all over the world.

It all began in 2012, when Johan Van Dyck took a huge personal gamble, stepping away from multinational breweries in the quest to start his own. Rooted in his sense that there was a need for innovation in the beer industry, he saw the opportunity to create something truly unique, in the form of ‘seef’. As a term that is not commonly known, this refers to a beer style in Antwerp that dates back to the 16th Century. Back then, it became so popular with the locals that it has its own part of the city named in its honour. However, due to the rise of industrial breweries and societal factors, the method ceased to exist.

As a young company, managing overhead costs and cash flows is of great importance. Hence the majority of people involved in the brewery work as self employed, keeping the cost structure in line with the company results. We are small and independent from the big multinational concerns, but on the other hand, the region’s quickest growing brewery. Small, but the biggest independent brewery of the city at the same time.




Almost a century after the recipe was thought to be lost, after extensive research supported by the University of Leuven, the recipe was recovered and the Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie was born. Restored to its former glory, the beer has received a series of internationally acclaimed awards including World’s Best Beer in numerous markets – making it one of the most rewarded Belgian beers in recent years.

Thanks to EU legislation, exporting within the EU has become a lot more easy and accessible, making us consider different European markets as our ‘home’ market, rather than just the local national market. The difference with exporting outside EU makes the comfort and benefits of a unified European market obvious.

Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie credits European legislation as being a factor in paving the way for their growth, particularly legislation that makes exporting within the Single Market easy and accessible. Likewise the brand protection rules have also helped develop their business. Looking forward, the company is optimistic about the future and have plans in motion to evolve their brewery into an all-round experience for beer lovers who want to witness and taste the local beer traditions of the past in a brand new brew house in the centre of Antwerp.

Our challenges: 1 consolidation by big breweries; 2 Complex legislation on food safety, excises and transport; 3 brand protection

As the region’s quickest growing brewery, this SME is boldly demonstrating that bigger is clearly not always better when it comes to brewing success.


More information: Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie