Belgian brewery Huyghe, which is known for its Delirium Tremens beer, says it will invest more than twenty million euro to increase export capacity. The beer is already available in China, but the company now also targets Africa and India.
Since 2012, Huyghe has invested thirty million euro in its Ghent-based brewery, increasing its capacity to 350,000 hectoliters. It has added a new brewery chamber and an automated barrel line, raising production to 200,000 hectoliters: up 10 % from last year and more than double what it did a decade ago.
The company does not want to slow down and will invest another huge sum. “All in all, it will be 22 million euro. We have enough capacity, but we lack storage, which is why we want to build additional warehouses. We will occupy more space, adding another two hectares to our 3-hectare domain”, CEO Alain De Laet told Belgian business newspaper De Tijd.
Seeing how the foreign markets contribute the most turnover, these are crucial to Huyghe’s growth plans. France is by far its most important market, generating 37 % of the company’s turnover. “China jumped to second place last year, contributing about 20 % of turnover. The United States are third, losing a spot because every Belgian brewery is struggling there”, De Laet said. For that reason, Huyghe will start distributing its beer itself in the United States from March onward.
Recently, it also signed an export contract for India, which is an important emerging market. “We will invest there and undoubtedly suffer losses in the next few years. However, the Indian beer market will one day explode and we intend to have a strong presence at that time.”
Africa is also gaining importance. Huyghe’s beers have already found their way to four African nations, but the company expects that the entire continent will become more accessible for Belgian brands, thanks to AB InBev’s enormous investments. “A huge Stella Artois billboard, including the words “Belgian” and “Tradition” are worth their weight in gold for us as well”, De Laet concludes.