Michiel Clyncke, Junior CEO at Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck, kicked off the new year by taking a look at the previous year, 2020. "The past leap year is considered a disaster year worldwide and yet our brewery managed to deliver good results as a united team. All our employees made special efforts and it is thanks to them that 2020 was, despite everything, a year in which we were able to continue investing in the future of our brewery and Bierkasteel."
Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck kicked off 2020 with very ambitious plans. “We had great prospects and 2020 would be the year in which we would further expand our range of cans”, Michiel Clyncke begins. Then the Covid-19 crisis hit the whole world and everything closed down, including hotels and catering establishments. “This past year, beer brands such as Kasteelbier and Filou have performed well in retail, so we have been able to reasonably absorb the losses from the hotels and catering sectors.”
Investing in people
Despite the crisis, Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck welcomed quite a few new employees in 2020. “Investing in the future also means investing in people. In times like these, creating additional jobs is not a given. However, we needed the extra pairs of hands to continue to grow. In 2021 we once again plan to invest in additional staff to further strengthen our team”, Clyncke explains.
Despite Covid-19, we have continued to invest in the future.
We invest not only in people but also in the hospitality sector. “The pandemic has been a major blow for this sector. That is why during the first lockdown we launched a support campaign for catering establishments that started offering takeaway. With every order, the owners were allowed to give their customers a free can of Filou. Recently we also decided to waive the rent for the month of January for our own cafés. With this New Year’s gift, we want to make the owners forget about their financial struggles so that they can enjoy the holidays with their families.”
New Michelle's Pub & Brasserie
Bierkasteel – which organises brewery visits and events, among other things – also kicked off 2020 with ambitious plans. However, Covid-19 threw a spanner in the works. “Nevertheless, the Bierkasteel team rolled up their sleeves and made the best of it. During the first lockdown, they focused on the expansion of Michelle’s Pub. The opening at the beginning of July was an instant hit. Visitors are very enthusiastic about the interior and the extensive brasserie menu. In 2021 we want to continue to build on the success of the new Michelles Pub & Brasserie. So let’s hope that the team can get back to work quickly!”
Given the obligatory closure of its own catering business, the family brewery in Izegem also decided to temporarily suspend all guided tours and only open the Beer Boutique on a limited number of days. “Again, we’re investing in the future. Our online shop allows our customers to buy specialty beers online and have them delivered on their doorstep. The first orders have already been successfully delivered and in 2021 we are planning to further expand the online shop”, says Clyncke.
What awaits us in 2021?
Despite everything, 2020 was not a disaster year for the brewery of the Kasteel beers, Filou and Brigand. The question on everyone’s lips is, “What does 2021 hold for Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck? “In 2021 we are focusing heavily on the 30th anniversary of our Kasteel range. We are also celebrating our CEO Xavier Vanhonsebrouck, who has been working at the brewery for 30 years.” In addition to all these celebrations, the brewery is also continuing to pursue its ambitious goals in 2021. “We currently have everything in place – beer on tap, in bottles and in cans – to focus on new channels and new export countries. But above all, we have the right people in the right place to turn our ambitions into reality. We’re ready to make 2021 a fantastic year and once again, Covid-19 will not be able to stop us”, Clyncke says, again very ambitiously.
In 2021 Clyncke also wants Filou to sponsor KV Oostende, Knack Volley andFilou Oostende. “Starting from the next season, the Belgian basketball champion will play in the BeNeLeague, which will give our Filou extra visibility in the Netherlands”, he clarifies. Finally, the Junior CEO hopes that we will soon win the battle against Covid-19. “The wedding schedule at Bierkasteel was jam-packed in 2020, putting it in the top 10 of Belgian events venues. And 2021 is already almost fully booked too. So let’s hope that all those happy couples will have the opportunity to celebrate their special day at Bierkasteel. I long for the moment when I can shake hands with my colleagues again and we can raise a glass together to what we have achieved and will continue to achieve together,” concludes Clyncke.