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De Troch, Wambeek

Langestraat 20
1741 WAMBEEK
Tel. 02 582 10 27
info [at] detroch [dot] be
www.detroch.be 

Production 3.500 hl (2019)

Export 85 % 

Employment 5 (3 family member)

Thuisverkoop from Wednesday to Friday from 9 am to 12 noon and from 1 pm to 4.30 pm, on Saturday from 10 am to 12 noon.

Visits for groups on request by e-mail, tasting (possibly with meal) possible in a restaurant near the brewery.

As with so many rural lambic breweries, the De Troch brewery also originates from a farm. On July 30, 1795, Anna Van der Elst sold her leasehold to Joannes Franciscus De Troch and his wife Theresia Cortvriendt. It is not possible to trace exactly when the brewing activities on this farm started, but a document from 1820 does mention a farm chicory roastery brewery. Joannes expanded with two side activities to provide work for the farm workers all year round.

In 1830 the company comes into the hands of their son, Josephus Petrus De Troch and his wife Maria Anna Van Cutsem. 

When Pieter De Troch died in 1851, he left behind a wife and eight children. When the inheritance was divided, his daughter Petronella got the brewery. Petronella married her cousin Egidius De Troch, a son of the 'Hof te Sierenbeke', in 1857. They built the spacious brewer's house in 1868, which is still part of the brewery complex today. Egidius was the first De Troch to launch himself into village politics. From 1878 he was a member of the municipal council and in 1885 he became mayor. The brewhouse probably dates from this period. The chimney on the brick building is square and it was not until the 1880s - 1890s that chimney brickwork was round, when it was discovered that a round chimney is stronger than a square one.

From 1889 his son Ludovicus (Louis), who married Josepha De Neve, took over the brewery from his father. He succeeded his father not only as a brewer, but also as mayor. He remained mayor until 1933. A rivalling brewer, Lode Willems, got 15 votes more with the elections.

A cash book from that period (1927) tells us that one liter of lambic was sold for 1.60 francs. One liter of faro costed 1.25 francs and one “bottle of lambic” (= actually gueuze) sold for 2 francs. At that time, the farmers were the best customers. They sometimes bought an entire brew at once.

Their son, also a Louis (Ludovicus Albertus), married Maria Louisa Van den Moortel and took over the brewery in 1936. He became mayor of Wambeek in 1939 and remained so until the merger with Ternat and Sint-Katharina-Lombeek in 1978.

The marriage remained childless, so he was the last De Troch in the brewery with the same name. When he stopped in 1974, the management passed to Jos Raes, the youngest of four sons of Raymond Raes and Magdalena De Troch (sister of Louis De Troch), who had been raised in the brewer's family. In the same year, the farm activities were stopped.

In 2000, their son Pauwel Raes entered the family business. In July 2012, he and his wife Kristel Schelfthout took over the lambic brewery.

The De Troch beer shop exists since 1964. Other lambic brewers also started to trade beer at that time. At that time, the sale of lambic and gueuze was declining. The brewery is the only Llambic brewery left in the municipality with an annual production of around 3,500 hl.

In the early 1980s, the De Troch brewery caused quite a stir in the gueuze world by being the first to launch a lambic with banana and mango. Since it is not easy for French speakers to pronounce 'De Troch', Jos Raes marketed these new beers under the brand name 'Chapeau' in view of the growing export opportunities (especially to France). The Chapeau range was later expanded to include mirabelles, apricot, peach, banana, ... and now forms a large part of the production. The unfiltered artisanal gueuze is still available and was the first Oude Geuze to be recognised as a regional product by VLAM vzw.

The brewery is housed in a stately square-shaped farm and is a gem of industrial archeology.