Heineken has decided to stop the production of lager beer at its Brand Brewery (Brand Bierbrouwerij) in Wijlre/Limburg/Netherlands. The brewery is Netherlands' oldest brewery and was founded in 1340.
As a result of the closure of the lager production, 48 people will lose their jobs or have to be relocated to other Heineken breweries in Den Bosch or in Alken, Belgium.
However, the brewery will not be totally closed but will focus on brewing specialty beers.
Heineken said that sales of both, lager beer and specialty beers, were growing but there was no room for expansion at the current site. "We are trapped between the village and the Geul [river],” a spokesperson of the brewery told local media. “That is why we have decided to move the production of the lager beer".
Since 1989 Brand Bierbrouwerij is part of Heineken. Until 2000, Thijs Brand was the last of the Brand family to manage the brewery. He believes that the relocation of a large part of the production has nothing to do with a lack of capacity at the current location and a lack of expansion options. “Relocation of pilsner beer from Wijlre is a pure money issue,” he told De Limburger.
Within the Heineken Group, Brand concentrates on developing new beers in addition to its own A-brand. From 2012, the brewery has held an annual beer brewing competition for home brewers. The winning beer is added to the range.