Thoughts and numbers: if there’s anything you can easily go wrong with, it is the combination of these two. It was once again made painfully clear to me how difficult making good estimates is. Thank you for your comments and thus help!
I got a response from Martin Ostendorf of Muifelbrouwerij on the estimate of the amount of beer brewed by the smaller Dutch brewers. Martin was clear: my estimation of average production being 500 HL is way too high – way too high. According to him, out of the 352 breweries, 50 to 100 (still) do not produce anything. Furthermore, he pointed me to The Leckere who could be at the same production level as De Molen, being around one million liters or 10,000 HL. Martin “then maybe ten brewers may produce between 500 and 1.000 hectoliters, but the rest are all under 100 hectoliters (10,000 liters). That’s where I believe he underestimates: breweries like De Prael, Oedipus, Maximus, Zundert, Kees, Emelisse, Maallust and the Bekeerde Suster brew substantially more than 1 000 hectoliters. Still it meana I have to really adjust my average assumption: let it be 150 HL, and then do the math yourself. Rather confronting and sometimes stupefying results guaranteed!
Just a thought about Kutbier (Cunt beer) then. I myself like this kind of bad jokes (some find that I’m a bad joke, or even a skid mark, depending on the relationship, but more about that another time) but even here a relativistic remark is made: ‘ the immensely popular Kutbier has been brewed three times now and so far 21 hectoliters have been made of it!’ Alright. That is indeed quite cunt.
And let’s revisit that thought about how much beer Heineken actually spill when filling bottles and stuff. I estimated that to be around the annual production of Brouwerij ‘t IJ, being 20 000 hectoliters. Whether it’s true or not we’ll find out but as an idea it is impressive. Still, it can be much more impressive. For example, I recently paid a visit to the Heineken brewery in Zoeterwoude, if you remember well, on Heineken Extra Fresh. The brewing house is actually divided into two groups: brewing house A and brewing house B, and both are composed of three brewing streets. A brewing street is actually a brewery, you know: maïschkettle, Lauterton, boiler, centrifuge, after which the beer can ferment. And Heineken actually has six of them, standing in a row!
Each brewing street (each has a capacity of 750 hectoliters or 75 000 liters) brews three to four times daily: on average they make twenty brews per day. That is 15 000 hectoliters, or three-quarters of the annual production of Brouwerij ‘t Ij PER DAY: by the time ‘t IJ brewing team go on their first coffee break of day two, Heineken Zoeterwoude has already finished up – for the whole IJ year!
Last ‘bizarre’ thoughts for now: Miller-Coors, the AB Inbev part that has been sold for more than a billion euros to Molson Coors, will close their brewery in Eden, North Carolina, in September. As per a press release: “because of the loss of nearly 10 million US barrels (11.5 million hectoliters) in seven years, we close the brewery. It has a capacity of 9 million US barrels (slightly over 10 million hectoliters) and employs 500 people. ”
Wow. Just MillerCoors, the number two of America, lost 1.15 billion liters of lager sales in America. You bet that AB Inbev, which is considerably larger, lost more. And all 4,200+ American “craft” breweries together brewed nearly 22 million US barrels in 2014; they will probably end 2015 around 26 million US barrels. To put it further into perspective, in 2013 the historic moment took place all craft brewers together sold more beer than Budweiser brand: 16.1 to 16 million US barrels. In 2003 Budweiser sold another 30 million US barrel: the brand has been halved.