7 October 2015 - Best Beer HQ

8 facts about Grolsch beer

8 facts about Grolsch beer

You know Grolsch is a Dutch lager, right? But we’ll bet you don’t know these eight other facts about this world-famous beer.

1. The Grolsch brewery dates back hundreds of years…

The famous Grolsch brewery was founded way, way back in 1615 in a town in the eastern part of the Netherlands called Groenio – then known as Grolle (hence the name of the beer, which literally means ‘of Grolle’).

To put the age of Grolsch into perspective, Heineken, that other famous Dutch lager which acquired Grolsch in 2008, was established in 1864 – nearly 250 years after the Grolsch brewery started churning out beer.

2. The Grolsch swing-top…

Of course the most famous feature of the Grolsch bottles of beer is probably the swing tops on its bottles. These were introduced to the company’s half-litre bottles of beer back in 1897. These are known as de beugel, or simply as ‘swing tops’ to you and me. They’re a rather spiffy innovation.

3. It survived WW2 by making fizzy drinks

Fast forward a couple of hundred years to just after the First World War, when times were tough for breweries due to a shortage of ingredients. To survive, the people running the company decided to set up a soft drinks section within the company, producing juices and fizzy drinks under the pseudonym ‘De Groen’s Limonades’. Very clever.

In 1972, when the bottle storage shed at the soft drinks factory burnt down, the decision was made to concentrate on brewing beer rather than fizzy drinks.

4. Beer back to its best…

At the end of the Second World War, Grolsch joined a group of European beer brands in a wide-reaching advertising promotion to convince people that the quality problems associated with a lack of quality ingredients during war time we’re over.

5. Acquired by SABMiller

On 12 February 2008, Grolsch was acquired by multinational brewing and beverage company SABMiller – the second largest brewing company in the world by revenue, which also produces Peroni, Fosters, Pilsner Urquell, and many other beers around the world.

6. The Grolsch logo

The Grolsch logo, in green, written on a white background is said to represent purity and quality of the beer. Meanwhile, the red hops mark supposedly represents the passion of the Grolsch brewing company employees.

7. Top secret yeast strain

Grolsch is brewed with a top-secret yeast strain that has allegedly been carefully protected for centuries.

8. Price fixing

Grolsch was fined €31.65m in 2007 by The European Commission for operating a price-fixing cartel in association with Heineken and Bavaria beer in The Netherlands.

Together, these beer companies controlled a whopping 95% of the Dutch beer market, and they used this power to carve up the market amongst themselves – an illegal strategy that eventually provoked the ire of the European Union.

Naughty boys – hope they learnt their lesson.

Big Breweries / International Beer / Weird and Interesting Netherlands /