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 a 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, as the taste of consumers 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, and the brewing installation was completely dismantled.

Family De Keersmaeker

The De Keersmaeker family had been brewing beer In Kobbegem for generations. Their Den Hert brewery made a special belge beer Hert Ale during the interwar period, and in the 1950s Kob Pils would become popular, alongside Bock table beer, Kobbrau export beer and Gueuze Den Hert.

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 focus exclusively on lambic beers as a traditional speciality of Pajottenland Brussels Zenne Valley, and released them all under the name Mort Subite. Due to the great success of the “De Keersmaeker” brewery, the needed more lambic, which is why it also took over the Eylenbosch brewery in 1989. And Mort Subite and Eylenbosch continued to co-exist.

The Alken – Maes breweries took over all the family’s shares, and so the De Keersmaeker’s disappeared from the picture. Alken Maes will focus solely on Mort Subite from Kobbegem, and the Eylenbosch Brewery was be shut down and dismantled.

Erik is the fourth generation in the brewing family De Keersmaeker. Initially he took a completely different path. He built a successful career at major 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 start again.

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