Ever since 1654 there has undoubtedly been some kind of brewing activity in the "Appelhoek" in Melle.Ever since 1654 there has undoubtedly been some kind of brewing activity in the "Appelhoek" in Melle.
In 1902 Leon Huyghe arrived from Poperinge in Melle, where he started working in the local brewery at the Appelhoek. Leon had always been fascinated by the world of brewing. Moreover, he was married to Delfina Van Doorselaer, a brewer's daughter from Wolvertem.
Nieuwe koperen brouwketels
In 1913 werd de mouterijafdeling afgeschaft en de plaats werd benut om een flessenafvulling in te richten. Zoals in de meeste brouwerijen kende men ook hier moeilijke tijden gedurende de oorlog 1914/18. Na de oorlog zorgde de familie Huyghe ervoor dat de koperen brouwketels die opgeëist waren zo vlug mogelijk werden vervangen door nieuwe. (waarvan trouwens één koperen koepel boven de toog van het museum pronkt)
De eerste vrachtwagen reed in 1921 de brouwerij uit. Leon en Delfina hadden 2 kinderen: Albert Huyghe huwde met Myriam Lammens (industriëlen uit Wetteren) en Marie-Louise huwde met Louis Droesbeque, brouwerszoon uit Zottegem. Albert Huyghe en Louis Droesbeque kwamen rond 1925 in het bedrijf. In 1928 werden de gebouwen langs de Eikerwegel afgebroken en in de plaats daarvan kwam een betonnen constructie waarin de koel-en gistinstallaties werden ondergebracht.
"Den Appel" becomes " Brouwerij Huyghe"
In 1936 the construction of a new complex started along the Geraardbergsesteenweg. This building will accommodate the new brewery as of 1939 onwards.
The brew room is still the pride of the brewery. In 1938 the name "Den Appel" was replaced by brewery Leon Huyghe Ltd.
It took some trial and error but in 1945 the first fine lager was produced: the "Golden Kenia", named after a French barley variety.
This beer won several prizes:
in 1951 it was awarded with a diploma of excellence by the city of Ghent.
in 1953 it won a cross of honour in Dortmund
in 1958 it won the first prize
In 1948 the brewery started the production of water and lemonades under the brand name "Mell's drinks"
The brewery knew a huge expansion and in 1964 a modern bottle filling line was built. The golden sixties saw the breakthrough of the German Dort-type beers and Brewery Huyghe also developed its own dort beer, named "Eigerbrau".
During the 70s the sales declined and action was needed. The problems were solved thanks to a shift in the sales approach. Apart from the over 300 obligatory pubs where the beer was sold, the brewery no longer was focusing on small beer merchants whose clients were increasingly looking for the bigger brands anyway. Instead, the focus moved to collective entities, such as company restaurants, social service departments, hospitals, schools, railways, etc. where the brewery could also deliver table beers and lemonades next to the lager.
Jean De Laet
When the brewery was radically reformed in 1985, production and company divisions were formed. The restructuring of the company was coupled with considerable financial investment, and the production of traditional pilsen beer was switched to that of high fermentation beers. For the first time, export was considered. On July 5th 1985, the amber beer "Artevelde" was put on the market.When the brewery was radically reformed in 1985, production and company divisions were formed. The restructuring of the company was coupled with considerable financial investment, and the production of traditional pilsen beer was switched to that of high fermentation beers. For the first time, export was considered. On July 5th 1985, the amber beer "Artevelde" was put on the market. The brewery is now producing 13,500 hectoliter.
Fermenting beer in the bottle
In 1987, the brewery started fermenting beer in the bottle, by producing the " Artevelde grand cru".In 1987, the brewery started fermenting beer in the bottle, by producing the " Artevelde grand cru".
On December 26th 1988, the famous "Delirium Tremens" was born. The particular character and the unique taste of "Delirium Tremens" result from the use of three different kinds of yeast. Its very original packing, which resembles cologne ceramics, and the colourful label contribute to its success. The label depicts the different phases of the production of "Delirium Tremens" the "Pink Elephant" was up and ready to conquer the world. To celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989, the topical beer "La Guillotine" was launched.
La Guillotine, ter herdenken van 200 jaar Franse revolutie
In 1989 werd de eerste cilindro-conische tank aangekocht voor de gisting van pils. Om de "tweehonderd jaar van de Franse revolutie" te herdenken, ontwierpen we het gelegenheidsbier "La Guillotine", amberkleurig en 8,5% vol alc. Dat heel vlug in een 10tal landen aansloeg. "La Guillotine" heeft een eervolle tweede plaats verkregen in het Huyghe gamma.
Blanche des Neiges
In 1990, "Blanche des Neiges" was created for the demand of the American market.In 1990, "Blanche des Neiges" was created for the demand of the American market.
Confrerie of the pink Elephant
In 1992, the "confrerie of the pink Elephant" was founded. Its task is to promote "Delirium Tremens" and the other beers of Melle. The brewery Huyghe took over the breweries "Campus", "St Idesbald" and "Vielle Villers".In 1992, the "confrerie of the pink Elephant" was founded. Its task is to promote "Delirium Tremens" and the other beers of Melle. The brewery Huyghe took over the breweries "Campus", "St Idesbald" and "Vielle Villers".
Ondertussen werd de technische ploeg onder zijn leiding uitgebreid met 3 jonge ingenieurs die instaan voor:
de hoge kwaliteitsvereisten van de delirium-producten
de creatie van nieuwe bieren
Deze zware financiële kost werd opgevangen door het groeien van de productie. Op 5 jaar tijd verdubbelde de productie. Export vertegenwoordigt al meer dan 50% en delirium is in 20 landen beschikbaar.
In oktober 1993 neemt brouwerij huyghe de brouwerij Biertoren in kampenhout over. Deze had zelf een paar jaar daarvoor de brouwerij Verlinden in Lubbeek overgenomen. Naast een groot gamma tafelbieren (Biertoren, Verlinden, De Schrans) worden de speciale bieren "Campus" (amberkleurig, alc. 7% Vol), "Campus gold" (blond gekruid, 6%) en "Aarschotse Bruine" (zoetzuur oud bruin, 4,5%) bij Huyghe verder gebrouwen en gecommercialiseerd.
In February 1994 the family Huyghe acquired the brewery Damy from Olsene. This way the abbey beers of Sint Idesbald (blonde, double, triple) further completed the abbey beer segment of the brewery.
Floris fruit beers
The fruit beers based on wheat beer are finally completed: brewery Huyghe – the last remaining brewery in the Ghent region – is launching four new fruit beers at the same time, under the brand name "Floris". In the years to follow 3 more beers will be added to that range. Next to the Floris wheat beer, there is also Griotte, Fraise, Passion, Honey, Chocolate and Ninkeberry (a mixture of 5 tropical fruits).
Reception area and museum
In order to serve the clients even better a new reception area and a museum are built: the art of brewing in general and the Huyghe brewery family have such a rich history that it would be a shame not to share that with everyone.
World Beer Awards
In 1997, our show-beer "Delirium Tremens" is nominated "best beer in the world". A gold medal during the "world beer championships" in Chicago (1998) confirmed that worldwide recognition. "The name Delirium Tremens speaks for itself. Words simply cannot describe the intricate flavor of this beer. But that won't stop me from trying.
Villers en Delirium Nocturnum
After having acquired Biertoren and Damy, Huyghe now also adds Brewery Villers to its portfolio: from now on the abbey beers Vieille Villers and Triple Villers, the "Loteling", "Paranoia" (quite similar to Delirium) and the "Rubbel sexy lager" are being brewed in Melle.
By now, the export represents over 65% of the production and this number will continue to grow in the next years. Delirium Tremens celebrates its anniversary. For this occasion a new beer is developed: "Delirium Nocturnum", a dark beer of 8.5% ABV with a secondary fermentation in the bottle.
The year of the large reconstruction works. The brewery renovates its entire yeast and lager capacity: 16 cilindro-conical yeast tanks (of 100 to 600 hl capacity) are being installed in the newly built room. The old lager cellar will be completely dismantled. On Feb 5 the brewery invites all Belgian brewers for the celebration of King Gambrinus (the Knighthood of the Stirrer). New beers are added to the portfolio: Delirium Christmas, an amber-coloured beer of 10% ABV, sells like hot cakes in the US.
Barrel filling line
Brewery Huyghe invests in a second barrel filling line. In the old lager cellar a new clear lager cellar with 10 stainless steel pressure tanks of 130hl and 4 of 70 hl (with Cip-installation) is being installed. The lager capacity is increased with 3 outdoor tanks of 225hl. In cooperation with Mongozo African Breweries, Huyghe develops a banana beer made from fairtrade Max Havelaar bananas: "Mongozo Banaan". The Floris family is growing: July 2001 welcomes the birth of "Floris Appel", a refreshing wheat beer with apple juice. The house belonging to the family Droesbeque (1200 m²) and adjacent to the brewery is being bought by Huyghe.
In close cooperation with the city of Arras, we are developing a malt lager beer which will be commercialized and marketed as "l'Arrageoise". The Mongozo range is extended with two more Max Havelaar ingredients. And "La Guillotine" again wins some prizes, this time at the World Championship of Australia. Delirium Tremens and his 'brothers' are now also available in Mexico and Thailand. And the export continues to increase: USA, Japan and Australia have become important export markets.
New promotion center
The end of 2003 marks the inauguration of a new promotion center, including a new access to the museum, a shopping area and a cloakroom. Yeast fermentation installations and a new kieselghur/fine filter of 120HL/hour become operational. The wort centrifuge is also modernized. The brewery is quickly growing: we are now also producing table beer for Belgian supermarket Colruyt. Export grows by more than 35%. 2 cilindro-conic tanks of 1200 HL each are being installed in July in order to be able to substantially increase the stock capacity.
The brewery celebrates its 350th anniversary, the centennial of the family brewery and the 15 years of existence of its showpiece "Delirium Tremens".
100.000 HL are reached
The brewery reaches the mythical mark of 100,000 hl (thanks to an increase by 17% versus the previous year). Filip Devolder is appointed as purchasing manager. A depalletiser for new bottles is installed and the company further expands with 2000 m² of warehousing and an extra 580 m² of heated area (The released heat from the cooling compressors warms up the warm room). The personnel gets a new changing room and lunch area. The water treatment is increased with an extra buffer of 80 m³. 10 new cilindro-conical tanks of each 700 hl and 3 tanks (for clear lager) of each 250 hl are being purchased.
The brewery buys a new KRONES rinsing machine. The entrance to the brewery changes: there is a new parking lot and 2 shiny copper kettles welcome the visitors.
New beers are being developed: Artevelde Premier Cru, Delirium Red and Mongozo Premium Pilsener (gluten-free, fair-trade and biological), which is elected as best Belgian lager beer during the Horeca Expo fair in November. The formula for La Guillotine is being altered and the beer wins a silver medal at the European Beer Star 2010. A tunnel pasteurization machine and a crate depalletiser are being installed. Brewery Huyghe participates in the Shanghai World Expo.
Start construction of a new brew room
2011 started with the construction of a brand new brew room at brewery Huyghe, an investment amounting to 7 million Euro. Thanks to this, the brew capacity can now be increased up to 300,000 hectoliter. And thanks to the state-of-the-art brew room Huyghe will need 10% less raw materials, 50% less energy and 30% less water. In March Brewery Huyghe joins the Belgian Family Brewers with the various Delirium beers and La Guillotine. Prestigious prizes The beers of Brewery Huyghe won prizes all over the world. La Guillotine won a gold medal at the prestigious Brewing Industry International Awards 2011. And also Delirium Nocturnum received gold at the IBEC (International Beverage Exposition and Competition) in China. The second half of 2011 saw even more prizes: Floris Mango won gold both in Hong Kong and in Tel Aviv (Israel) and Delirium Tremensand Mongozo Premium PIlsener took the gold medal in Tel Aviv. The year was ended with a silver medal for Delirium Tremens and a bronze medal for La Guillotine at the International Beer Competition in Japan.
Medal of honour
In January 2012 brewery Huyghe received a medal of honour from the Province of East-Flanders, as a recognition for their merits in the region. April 2012 saw the culmination of a 7 million investment with the completion of the new brew room and new buildings. Thanks to this investment the brew capacity increased to a maximum of 350,000 HL. Moreover, thanks to the state-of-the-art brew room the brewery can save up to 10% on raw materials, 30% on water consumption and 50% on energy. In June, the 3D elements were added to the website, which fitted in perfectly with the world of the pink elephant. In July the beers Floris Kriek and Delirium Tremens won medals at the International Beer Challenge in London. And in October Mongozo Premium Pilsener and La Guillotine won medals at the World Beer Awards.
Deliria was introduced for the first time in 2013 – a beer brewed by women for all beer enthusiasts. A shower of prizes also rained down on the brewery's beers. Internationally it garnered no fewer than 13 medals for Delirium Tremens, La Guillotine, Mongozo, Deliria and the Floris beers.
The brewery underwent significant development at the environmental level. Its goal was to become Belgium's most sustainable brewer, and it thus became a signatory to the environmental charter in 2014, introducing new innovations. To this end, it commissioned a new steam boiler running on natural gas, replacing the less efficient one using fuel oil. Extra solar panels were installed on the roof of the brewery's storage depot. This meant we had doubled the 154 kilowatts-peak (Kwp) capacity, and that a significant portion of our energy consumption became renewable. The brewery also acquired new trucks, which are far more environmentally-friendly while also being quieter.
Over the years the brewery has made considerable strides at the environmental level, resulting in a reduced consumption of resources right across the board: raw materials -10%, CO2 -17%, steam -55%, water -20% and electricity -24%. Turnover grew by 20% in 2014, rounding the €26-million cape, while volume grew by 10% to reach a total volume of 180,000 hectolitres, or nearly 4 million imperial gallons.
De afgelopen jaren deed de brouwerij al heel wat inspanningen op milieu vlak, wat resulteerde in verlaagde consumptie van middelen, over de hele lijn: grondstoffen -10%, CO2 -17%, stoom -55%, water -20% en elektriciteit -24%. Over 2014 groeide de omzet met 20% - en werd hiermee de kaap van 26 miljoen € gerond - en steeg het volume met 10%, tot een totaal volume van 180.000 hectoliter.
Sheltered employment 'ryhove'
The year began afresh with prizes for Averbode Abdijbier and La Guillotine at the Meiningers International Awards. In May 2015, Brouwerij Huyghe became the first brewery in Belgium to open a workshop with sheltered employment as part of the company, with a staff of 15. This saves the brewery two or three return loads a day, which is an ecological plus. The following sustainable investments were realised in 2015:
The bottling plant at an investment of 1.2 million euros, to enable innovative packaging and to increase quality, flexibility and yields.
A new filtration unit which could filter 200 hectolitres of beer an hour instead of 100 (4,400 imperial gallons rather than 2,200).
A new 2,500 m2 warehouse with new loading bays.
Research into deploying nano-filtration to re-use 70% of the waste water.
New Keg line
In 2016, we invested in an ultra-modern keg line built by the Belgian company Lambrechts.
This is fully robotic on the basis of 3 robot arms.
With a Capacity of 240 kegs per hour. And a monobloc of 80 filling and washing units.
Bright beer tanks
In 2017 the 4 bright beer tanks of each 600HL from 2013 have been relocated. In addition, 4 additional new bright beer tanks of 600HL each were purchased. A building has been placed between the 2 rows of 4 tanks each so that all pipework are inside.
In 2018, the brewery decides to rebrand the world-famous Delirium beer and the entire Delirium range.
We retain all the original features of the iconic bottle: The pink elephant, green crocodile, purple dragon, Hitchcock birds and the white bottle. But decide to position the pink elephant more centrally.
The glass also gets a refresh. Here you can find the elephant's trunk at the foot. And with the new broad chalice, we liberate all the aromas of our beers. Santé
Yeast tanks & Electrical forklifts
In december 2018, we expanded the brewery with:
- 8 new yeast tanks, each with a capacity of 120,000 liters
- In addition we invested in electrical powered forklifts.
DELIRIUM BLACK BARREL AGED
In 2019 we expanded our delirium range with DELIRIUM BLACK
Delirium Black is a blend of Delirium Nocturnum and Delirium Noël that have matured in oak bourbon barrels for 9 months.
The barrels come from the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Delirium Black is only available in a very limited edition.