Veenhuizen in Drenthe is home to brewery Maallust as well as a place with a cinematic history. Veenhuizen began as a farming village. In 1818, that changed radically. General Johannes van den Bosch's 'Maatschappij van Weldadigheid' established colonies for poor families and orphans. Henk Timmerman, the co-owner of brewery Maallust, therefore called the general among his specialty beers The Maallust 1818.
Yet at the beginning of this century, Veenhuizen was not in a rosy state. The problem? Vacancy. Henk Timmerman, as a self-employed person, bent over backwards to rearrange the village. There were new functions for the existing buildings. Timmerman: "The solutions were already there, they just had to find Veenhuizen."
Veenhuizen's mill was one of the properties crying out for a new use. "For me the most beautiful building. With great historical connotations because Veenhuizen used to be a self-sufficient agricultural colony." I had been brewing beer at home for years, as a hobby, and I sensed that the beer market was going to grow." Thus the plan for brewery Maallust came to the table.
To finance the brewery, Henk Timmerman gathered around him a group of 25 investors and shareholders. This club called itself The Heavy Boys. Appropriate, since Veenhuizen became a prison enclave after its existence as an agricultural colony. All the Heavy Boys meet three conditions:
- They put a certain amount on the table.
- They are nice men and women.
- They like beer.
From hobby to hype
Carpenter's prediction about the growth of the beer market came true. By now everyone has a brewer in his or her circle of acquaintances, and beer brewing kits are available at every home improvement store. "We obviously have more competition than in the beginning. But we don't run after hypes. We want to keep our product special. We supply catering and liquor stores throughout the country, but you won't find us in a supermarket. My own favorite Maallust beer? Hard to say. I might be proudest of the tripel. I still developed that recipe myself as a hobby brewer and we won a prize with it in 2015."
As an innovative and quirky company, Maallust fits into NOM's vision for the Northern Netherlands. The brewery participated in a pilot within NOM's Food2020 project. This prepares the food sector in the Dutch-German border region for the year 2020. An analysis was made of the carbon foodprint of Maallust beer. It turned out to be lower than expected and lower than other products, such as coffee orange juice. "It was nice to gain insight into this. We would like to brew as sustainably as possible."
From hobby brewer to hop field builder
Professional hop growing
In that context, a two-hectare hop field is now being set up. This will then immediately be the largest in the Netherlands with 5,200 plants. "With this we are reintroducing professional hop cultivation in the Netherlands. We used to get our hops from abroad until now. If everything grows well, by the end of 2018 you can taste the first Maallust beer made from our own hops."