Saturday, September 7, 2013

We're Famous! In Belgium, at Least

We were part of a Belgian TV Show segment while visiting 3 Fonteinen during our pilgrimage! Check out Patrick, Matt, Carl, Ben and Tyler in the clip starting at about 2:03

Thanks to our very astute Facebook fan Kevin Dvs, we have a translation of what master brewer and lambic blender Armand Debelder is talking about after we handed off some of our beer to him!
Basically they are saying that a lot of americans are visiting 3 Fonteinen. The commentator says that it is unbelievable how much these americans know about Armand's brewery and that they almost see Armand as an idol; they have an unlimited respect for him. 
Armand himself doesn't understand this hype around his person. After the conversation in English (when Armand is pouring some gueuze) he says that his brewery is some kind of Disneyland for American brewmasters. Then he says that he visited USA in June, and when he told people he is a belgian brewer, Americans considered him as a rockstar and wanted pictures with him. 
The commentator says 3 Fonteinen was almost broke 15 years ago but because of the big interest from American customers and other foreigners, they survived. Now they can't keep up with the orders from abroad. If Armand wants to, he can sell all his stock to American customers but he doesn't do that because he's loyal to his local customers. 50% is export.
Kevin kindly explained the highlights of the rest of the piece as well:
The anchor woman begins the piece saying Belgium has a very good "beer reputation". Today (during Belgian beer weekend) the plans for beer temple in the Belgian stock exchange were presented. 
These plans are very ambitious. Nevertheless Belgians are actually drinking less and less beer. 60% of the belgian beer production is for export. But in the rest of the world, small breweries are a hype. 
At 0.33 They explain that a lot of foreign beer importers are headed to the Belgian beer festival because they know that they will find some of the best beers in the world over here. 
At 1:23 He says the place of Belgian beers in the world market is top notch. If you think of the beer market as a pyramid, Belgian beers represent the top part. This is very apparent if you see the prices bars and shops ask for Belgian beer in different parts of the world. He says this is normal because foreigners consider it to be "best of the best" so they want to pay for that quality. He says Belgian beers need to remain at the top, then The Bruery at 3 Fonteinen part comes in.

At 4:20 they say a lot of Belgian breweries can't follow the demand for their beers. The Belgian beer sector can't really complain but there's a negative part: the export of belgian beers becomes higher every year; so the Belgians drink less and less of there own beers. He says Belgians are not that proud of there own beers. 
At 4:54 Debelder says that it hurts him the most that Belgians (well, a lot of Belgians) are not proud of their own product. The average Belgian doesn't know his beer culture. However, foreigners think the opposite. The market for belgian beers is booming in Europe, USA, Japan and the next target, South America and more of Asia.
Check out our updates from the road in our Belgium blog post series:

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