On Friday, Mouterij Albert, the largest malting plant of Heineken, celebrated the inauguration of a new kiln. With an investment of EUR 41 million, the facility has upgraded its operations, enhancing its production capacity from 275,000 to 375,000 tons of malt per year, making it one of the biggest malting sites in the world. The malting plant is located in Ruisbroek (Puurs-Sint-Amands) / Belgium, about 20km south of Antwerp along the Rupel Canal.
The majority of the malt is exported from Ruisbroek to around fifty Heineken breweries in approximately thirty countries worldwide.
Mouterij Albert has also taken an important step towards sustainability by implementing a new energy system powered by a heat pump. The new kiln reduces the malt plant's carbon footprint from 33,000 tons per year to 5,000 tons per year. With further investments, the company is aiming to achieve carbon-neutral production across all sites by 2027.
For the inauguration, Edwin Zuidema, the managing director of Mouterij Albert, welcomed Dutch Ambassador Pieter Jan Kleiweg de Zwaan and the local Mayor Koen Van den Heuvel who had the honor of cutting the ribbon. This milestone marks the beginning of a comprehensive sustainability journey, aimed at greening the entire supply chain, from farm to bar.
"To become completely climate neutral by 2027, we aim to use biogas instead of natural gas," said Sebastiaan De Meester, Corporate Affairs Manager at Alken-Maes, the parent company of Mouterij Albert. "We have created an energy island with heat pumps to reuse the kiln's residual heat. We also strive to work with local farmers for barley supply, and currently collaborate with 74 agricultural producers. Particularly for our Belgian beers such as Cristal, we aim to use as many local ingredients as possible."
Mouterij Albert was founded in 1954 in Wijnegem, Belgium, located on the outskirts of Antwerp near the Albert Canal. The company takes its name from the canal.
During the 1960s, the malting plant became part of the Heineken group. In 1980, the company acquired Mouterij Roelants in Ruisbroek, and in 1993, the outdated facility in Wijnegem was closed. The production capacity in Ruisbroek was gradually expanded. In 2004, the company invested in a railway connection to gain a better access mainly to barley from France. In 2019, Mouterij Albert was incorporated into NV Alken-Maes. Mouterij Albert employs approximately 54 people, and the construction of the new kiln will create six additional jobs.