Duits & Lauret are becoming a fortress brewery

Craft beer has been going against the trend of economic demise. Shops all over the country are closing, either because of the economy or the growing online market. Older, monumental, buildings have trouble finding new investors and purposes. Brewers have made use of this demise and are bucking the trend. New breweries are starting and in the process give new purposes to sometimes historic buildings. This isn’t a completely new trend, in the last century Brouwerij ‘t IJ moved into an old bathhouse and Oudaen in Utrecht occupies a medieval house. This century Jopen opened a restaurant/bar in a church and De Molen started in that most Dutch of structures: a windmill (for those who might have missed it, De Molen is Dutch for The Windmill). Even old factory buildings now house breweries like Maallust and Oersoep. These are just some examples of the many ways craft beer is changing the cities and towns and countryside we live in.

But a brewery in an historic fortress? That’s a new one and it will happen this year when Duits & Lauret move into Fort Everdingen, a fortress located on a river to the south of Utrecht on the border of provinces Utrecht and Gelderland. This will mean that after brewing in Belgium for years they will now do everything themselves and in the Netherlands.

dleverdingen10986494_618873438243070_8680001355375537309_nFort Everdingen

The fortress (finished in 1847) is located in the area where three major rivers flow in close proximity. Water has played an important part in the original function of the fortress as part of the Hollandic Waterline, a linked number of forts meant to defend Holland (the western part of the country with major cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht) from the enemy. But the enemy never came and the sluices to inundate surrounding farmland were never used.

Many of the buildings remained and the fortress has had other functions. The last was as a depot for the army’s bomb disposal unit before it was turned over to the Ministry of Economics who started looking for a new destination. 18 investors and/or businesses turned in a proposal outlining their ideas of what the fortress could be used for. Of these 18 Duits & Lauret had the plans that a committee liked the most and this means that in 2015 a brewery will be located in the 150-year old fortress. Their plan combined a great idea of accessibility with economic viability, the committee sees the brewery as something that will be in that location for the next decades.

Plans

The entire area is large, about 12 hectares (30 acres) and has 32 structures. The plan is that eventually all these buildings will get a purpose. The scale of the project is such that it is almost impossible to do it all at once. Marco Lauret tells me that all the buildings will be gradually incorporated into the entire plan, but that this can take a decade.

So what will the fort get? Apart from (naturally) a brewery and tasting room the fort will also hold a shop where apart from their own products (they also make cheese and mustard) they will sell local products. The tasting room will also offer some small dishes, which will be made in cooperation with De Veldkeuken. Because of the dark and sheltered characteristics it is also perfect to age the Duits & Lauret beer cheese.

One of the bats in the fortress (photo from Duits & Lauret)

One of the bats in the fortress (photo from Duits & Lauret)

Nature

The fortress will encompass more than just beer and food. Because of its location nature already plays a big role. The tower that stands on the ground houses a colony of bats and the bats won’t have to be relocated as they will remain right where they are. At the start of the year they counted them all. This won’t be the only dwelling for animals, new housing for bats and/or hedgehogs might be built as well and who knows what other animals will find a home here. So even for the non-beer drinking nature fan the fort will have a lot to offer.

History

The Hollandic Waterline is important and visible part of Dutch history, not to be ignored especially when the fortress becomes as accessible as this one. An Information Center will definitely be part of the setup. Because of its location it will naturally attract motorist and bikers, especially now that it is open. If you have never been in the area of the country where the rivers are located, it is a beautiful part of the country to visit and drive through.

Job creation

When it is all finished the brewery is planned to offer jobs to ten people, and more places for people further from the job market, a concept we have seen often at breweries. They hope that the fortress will be a place of work for a lot of people, and a place where people can be taken care of as well, to make them feel they have a purpose.

Time schedule

The first thing they hope to open this summer is the tasting room, followed by the first parking spots for camper vans and the brewery itself. This will be start of the beer-and-breakfast concept. The other buildings will get a purpose in the next decade, yes, you read that correctly, it will probably take about 10 years before it will get a finish.

We will of course visit Fort Everdingen as soon as we can, and will keep you updated about this unique new beer location in the middle of the country. We for one can’t wait.

Advertisements

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] can read more about how Duits & Lauret got the fortress in the earlier article I wrote last year.I wrote last […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: