On Thursday, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands visited Gulpener Brewery in Limburg, where she got to experience first-hand what it is like to work in the industry.
Her Majesty got to experience the job in full, from the picking of beer ingredients from the field (such as hop, wheat, rye and barley) to the fermentation process.
Throughout her experience, the Queen was accompanied by Gulpener Bierbrouwerij (or “beer brewery” in English) director Jan-Paul Rutten.
The visit was made because the facility won the 2020 Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award from the King Willem I Foundation, of which Her Majesty is patron.
During the tour of the facility she received, Queen Máxima discussed the business’s innovative approach to sustainability in both their brewing process and the sourcing of their raw materials, which the director says are preferred to be from local farmers and are paid at fair prices.
But Her Majesty was also listening to a much more heartbreaking reality, as director Rutten laid on the table the data showing the devastating toll the global shutdown has taken on the business. Because Gulpener Brewery mostly serves the catering industry, when bars and restaurants had to close, their business numbers sharply declined, causing Gulpener to have two consecutive years of financial losses.
Not only was it the pandemic that affected them, but the brewery was also in the middle of one of the areas most affected by the floods that hit the Netherlands earlier this year.
On this note, director Rutten acknowledged that Queen Máxima’s visit should have happened before but that the floods prevented the event from taking place. However, he took the opportunity to thank Her Majesty for her visit and said that this visit and the award are “the jewel in the crown of our work” and that, despite all adversities, the Queen’s visit should be a moment of celebration.