The story of the Eylenbosch brewery begins at the end of the 19th century in Schepdaal. Founder Emile Eylenbosch, born in 1861, was involved in brewing beer from a young age. He rented some buildings from Jean De Troch. When the latter terminated the agreement in the 1880s, Emile Eylenbosch informed him that he would build a new brewery across the Ninoofsesteenweg. One that would be three times bigger.
The establishment of the Eylenbosch brewery in 1886 was the start of the fierce competition between the Eylenbosch and De Troch families. From 1894 the new steam brewery was officially registered as the property of Emile Eylenbosch. Afterwards, the complex would expand further. The imposing brewing tower was built around 1930.
For about a hundred years, the brewery was successfully run by successive generations of the Eylenbosch and Valkeniers families. In the late 1950s, many breweries in the Pajottenland had a hard time. The growing popularity of lagers, aheralded the downfall for the Eylenbosch brewery.
In 1975, the English group Whitbread became the new owner and tried to turn the tide in vain. In 1989 they sold Eylenbosch to the Mort Subite, which was itself 50% part of Alken-Maes at the time. In 1991, beer was brewed for the last time at Eylenbosch. Afterwards, the brewery only served as storage space, but the brewing installation was completely dismantled.
After years of vacancy, the site was finally renovated. By the end of 2022, the site will house 55 apartments, retail spaces, an underground car park and an open esplanade. With respect for the historical context, the Eylenbosch brewery will be a monument in Schepdaal more than ever.
This was the reason for Erik De Keersmaeker to bring Eylenbosch with the help of brewer-engineer Klaas Vanderpoorten and Jeroen Lettens, back to life after a hibernation of almost three decades,
Erik De Keersmaeker is the fifth generation of the renowned brewing family from Kobbegem. Initially he took a completely different path. He has built a successful career with large companies such as Mars, Kraft and Disney. But he has never forgotten his roots, because he grew up in a brewery.
During the interwar period, the De Keersmaeker family made Hert Ale (hence the deer in the current Eylenbosch logo). In the 1970s, André De Keersmaeker concluded an agreement with the Vossen family, owners of the well-known Brussels café À la Mort Subite, who also had their own gueuze blender, and took over the Mort Subite brand. He decided to launch a range of lambic, Gueuze and fruit beers under the name Mort Subite. The success that the De Keersmaeker brewery had with this beautiful brand and its interest and focus on this typical Brussels beer style, also ensured that they bought the Eylenbosch brewery in 1989. Eventually, the Alken-Maes group would take over all the shares of the family, but the building of the Eylenbosch brewery remained the property of the De Keersmaeker family for several years.