Beerselect: beer on demand
While technological innovation in the beer world comes mainly from the big players, flavour innovation is the domain of the smaller, local brewers.Wout Meuleman, CEO Beerselect
Since September 2019, contract brewery Beerselect has been helping small brewers with scale-up and commercial support. Early last year, it raised six million euros in a new funding round. That cash injection will allow the three young founders to expand their brewing capacity to three million litres a year, experiment with canned beer and hard seltzers, and hire additional employees.
Beerselect is the brainchild of founders Wout Meuleman, Miel Bonduelle and Kasper Peeters. At the end of 2018, the trio raised 900,000 euros to build the brewery. Which does not brew beer recipes from the three founders, but already over 400 recipes from a hundred beer companies. That fast-growing group of brewers do not have their own brewing equipment, but have their creations brewed by ‘contract brewers’ like BeerSelect who help passionate beer lovers develop and produce their own beer. At the group brewery, you can have your own beer brewed from as little as 2,000 litres. Since the doors opened in autumn 2019, more than 7 million bottles have already rolled off the line, accounting for 2.5 million litres of beer. The new round of funding will allow BeerSelect, Ghent’s largest brewery, to almost quadruple its annual brewing capacity to three million litres.
The founders met while working as door-to-door salesmen for Hellofresh, among others, during their student days. The three set up an online shop. Across the country, they went to get beer from small brewers. They stored it in their digs. They took orders to the nearby post office. When the beer collection became too large, they decided to move to an office, after which the idea arose to set up their own contract brewery. This turned out to be more difficult than thought. From Belfius, PMV and some entrepreneurs, they raised 900,000 euros. In June 2019, the tanks and other components were delivered, and three months later they started brewing. The new funding round of six million euros came thanks to a credit from Belfius, a tailor-made leasing proposal from Belfius Lease and a sum of money from private investors from the Harvest fund. That fund groups entrepreneurs who also have a stake in restaurant chain Bavet. BeerSelect received the backing of a Gigarant guarantee for the loan with Belfius and the leasing with Belfius Lease.
CEO Wout Meuleman: “On top of that expansion, the extra capital will also allow us to experiment with canned beer and hard seltzers, a light alcoholic low-calorie and low-sugar drink – also mainly canned. Canned beer has a bad name with us, but that is not the case elsewhere in the world. Moreover, exporting beer is easier in cans than in bottles: cans weigh less. With a new and unique filling line – one of the most complex in the world – that can fill as many as 12,000 bottles or cans per hour in all kinds of formats, we can now brew a much wider range of beers, not just beers that ferment in the bottle. This allows us and our brewers to fully play the card of flavour innovation. Because while technological innovation in the beer world mainly comes from the big players, taste innovation is the domain of the smaller, local brewers.” Beerselect is also investing in a lab to carry out microbiological and physico-chemical analyses. Measuring is knowing: with the additional equipment, the Ghent entrepreneurs aim to boost the quality of craft brews.
Visit the website of Beerselect