Koninklijke Grolsch, craftsmanship and character for more than 400 years
As a beer brewer, Grolsch has been located in Groenlo and Enschede for more than 400 years and stands for craftsmanship and character. Craftsmanship is expressed in quality and especially in recent years also sustainability. Corporate Affairs Director Koert van 't Hof explains: “Grolsch has a distinctive character, actually from the very beginning when Grolsch beer was brewed innovatively from 2 hops by Master brewer Peter Cuijperheel. That originality is still evident, for example in 2007 Grolsch being the first beer brewer to use a different bottle than the standard bottle.”
Grolsch and Asahi world-class player in the making
Koert has been working at Grolsch for 24 years and has experienced the entire development from starting as a Dutch beer brewer to becoming part of a multinational. Grolsch has been part of the Japanese beer brewer Asahi since 2016. The focus on quality, which is of upmost importance to a Japanese company, fits particularly well with Grolsch. With the purchase of an entire European division, including Grolsch and Peroni (Italy) and the recent acquisition of Carlton and United Breweries (Australia’s largest brewery), Asahi can truly fulfill its ambitions to become a world-class player. Koert has experienced that “Think global, act local” is actually put into practice by Asahi: “For Grolsch this has always been the way of working: Grolsch is proud of its East Dutch roots, locally interwoven with both the Achterhoek as Twente and in internationally active in about 60 countries.” From these roots as well as from the people, the culture and the social-economic aspects, East Netherlands is the place for Grolsch!
By 2025, Grolsch aims to be a completely climate neutral brewery. They focus on this in the sustainability strategy SUSTAINABLE.CHARACTER. on six priorities:
- Reducing CO2 and energy consumption;
- Maximizing circular packaging;
- Reuse of brewery waste;
- Reduce and secure water usage;
- Stimulating social and economic growth;
- Promote responsible alcohol consumption.
Cooperation as much as possible in the region
Grolsch works with many partners to achieve its objectives. “Where possible we collaborate with regional parties: from engineering firms and water boards to suppliers, educational institutes such as Saxion and ROC, but also UT Twente and Wageningen University & Research.” Together with suppliers, Grolsch has managed to create a fully recycled and highly sustainable crate for its Kornuit brand. With Smurfit Kappa they are working for example on innovative solutions for tin packaging. Grolsch recently concluded a heat supply contract with energy supplier Twence. Twence will supply heat to Grolsch, which has been generated completely “green”. Grolsch’s CO2 emissions from natural gas will be reduce by 72% (5,500 tons) from 2022, with the ambition to have a completely CO2-free brewery by 2025.
Collaboration with the Japanese partner runs very smoothly, despite the fact that the Japanese indirect and courteous culture differs greatly from the Dutch direct and open culture. For example, Asahi’s excellent knowledge of quality is used by providing support on request through sending a project team in case of problems. Furthermore, there is a lot of room for Grolsch to deal with things themselves. In a management team of 7, there are only 2 internationals, who experience the living environment in The Netherlands as exceptionally pleasant.
First people, planet, then profit
With the support of Asahi in Japan, more efforts will be made in the near future on people (well-being, diversity) and sustainability. By 2050, the entire production process, including transport and packaging, must be climate neutral. With a broader portfolio, with more alcohol-free and low-alcohol (specialty) beers, Asahi / Grolsch grows in a sustainable manner into a real world player.