From pharmacy to fermentation
Brouwland's success story began many years ago. Frans Balis was a pharmacist by profession, but his true passion lay elsewhere. His hobby was winemaking. What started in the corner of his pharmacy as a small stand containing yeasts and accessories for budding winemakers soon mushroomed. Bitten by the winemaking bug, Frans Balis joined with other wine lovers to set up the V.A.W., Belgium's association of traditional vintners, winemakers and beer brewers.
As a businessman, Frans not only had a nose for good wine, but also for opportunities. He eagerly sought out distributors for these items. This marked the first step for Farma Import Wijnartikelen, from retail to wholesale in the Benelux region. The range also expanded considerably; as well as products for making your own wine, beer and liqueurs, more specialised kitchen equipment was also offered, such as juicers, germinators, canning jars and dehydrators.
In the mid-80s, the second generation took over. The business became more professional and grew. Literally, until it was almost bursting at the seams and added a new 1,200m² warehouse. This allowed it to stock and distribute even more products. But even this building soon became too small for the expansion in plant and personnel. Since 2001, Brouwland has occupied a 3,700m² building. That year Brouwland also opened an online store successfully. A year later Brouwland diversified with the introduction of its own brands, which were an instant hit.
The company grew very fast; in 2008 the offices expanded to 400 m² and 4 years later the warehouse extended with a whopping 2,700 m². The activities also extended, Brouwland took over Lick’s liqueur extracts. The icing on the cake was when they signed exclusivity contracts with big names such as Five Star, Blichmann, Muntons and Weyermann. And so it happened that Brouwland became a market leader with its own brands and over 3,000 products in its range, for hobbyists as well as for professionals.
DIY has never gone out of fashion, but in the last few years we've seen a real revival in this area. What started in 1972 as a pharmacy and drugstore has grown over a few decades into Europe's most highly specialised wholesaler for products for making your own wine, beer, liqueurs or dairy products. Brouwland is still a local family business today, but also a market-leader with a vision, a constantly expanding range and strong own brands. Don't take us at our word, come and see for yourself! The coffee's already brewing!
Compassion for others
Brouwland is not just a rapidly expanding company. Brouwland also cares about its people and the environment. Brouwland believes in its human capital and in social engagement. The buildings are heated using almost exclusively carbon-neutral energy, and only green electricity can be found flowing through the sockets. We also make a contribution in terms of social employment. Around 20 employees from the sheltered workshop Bewel help put the brewing kits together here every day.
Brouwland is also committed to a better future. With the "Entrepreneurs in Class" project by Vlajo, we want to make an active contribution to start-up businesses by inspiring students and awakening their entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, each year we support a charitable cause of our choice. In 2014 this was De Draaischijf, a local organisation which stands up for and unites the vulnerable and the poor in society. The stand-up comedy evening we organised encouraged many people to come out and helped raise almost €10,000..