The story of the Eylenbosch brewery begins at the end of the nineteenth century in Schepdaal, a municipality in the Pajottenland near the capital Brussels. Founder Emile Eylenbosch, born in 1861, was involved in brewing beer from a young age. He rented some buildings from Jean De Troch for this. When the latter terminated the agreement in the 1880s, Emile Eylenbosch informed him that he would build a new brewery across the street. One that would be three times bigger.
And so it happened… The establishment of the Eylenbosch brewery in 1886 was the start of the fierce competition between the Eylenbosch and De Troch families. In 1894 the new steam brewery was officially registered as the property of Emile Eylenbosch. Afterwards, the complex would expand a few more times. The imposing brewing tower, for example, was probably built around 1930
For about a hundred years, the brewery was successfully run by successive generations of the Eylenbosch and Valkeniers families. In the late 1950s, many breweries in the Pajottenland had a hard time, the taste of the typical Oude Gueuzedrinker was gradually changing. The growing popularity of other beers also heralded the downfall for the Eylenbosch brewery
In 1975, the English group Whitbread as new owner tried to turn the tide in vain. In 1989 they sold Eylenbosch to the Mort Subite Brewery, which was itself 50% part of Alken-Maes at the time. In 1991, beer was brewed for the last time in Eylenbosch. Afterwards, the brewery only served as storage space, but the brewing installation was completely dismantled.
Familie De Keersmaeker
In Kobbegem, the De Keersmaeker family had been brewing beer since a long time. During the interwar period they made Hert Ale, and Kob Pils would become popular in the 1950s.
In the 1970s, André De Keersmaeker concluded an agreement with the Vossen family, owners of the well-known Brussels café À la Mort Subite, who blended their own gueuze, and took over the Mort Subite brand. He decided to launch a range of lambic, Gueuze and fruit beers under the name Mort Subite. The success that the De Keersmaeker brewery had with this beautiful brand and its interest and focus on this typical Brussels beer style, also made that they bought the Eylenbosch brewery in 1989. Ultimately, the Alken-Maes group would take over all shares of the family.
Erik De Keersmaeker is the fifth generation in the brewersfamily. Initially he took a completely different path. He has built a successful career with large companies such as Mars, Kraft and Disney. But he has never forgotten his roots. After all, Erik grew up in the brewery. And that's why he decided to pick up the thread again ...
A new start for Eylenbosch
By the end of 2021, the site will house 55 beautiful apartments, various retail spaces, an underground car park and an open esplanade, all with respect for the historical context, so that the Eylenbosch brewery will be a monument in Schepdaal more than ever. But the brewery is also back. The old cellars are being renovated and will again provide space for a storage area where the lambic can ripen in large foeders.
Moreover, this was the ideal reason for Erik De Keersmaeker to also breathe new life into Eylenbosch beer. He does this together with study friend Jeroen Lettens and the young brewer Klaas Vanderpoorten. The Oude Gueuzedrinker of yesteryear may have disappeared, but a completely new