The story of the family Maes starts in 1856. Leon Maes, also referred to as Henri the First, becomes owner of brewery ‘De Halve Maan’.
He starts brewing according to a unique recipe. His first beer could be described as a hazy beer with a sour taste.
Henri II took over the lead at the brewery together with his brother Achère. After a short visit to England, they start brewing with an English technique. At that time, it was one of the most modern brewing techniques available.
But the family is very unfortunate as both brothers pass away at a young age. Their widows are not willing to give up the family business and continue the brewery.
It was the third generation, Henri III, who is at the helm of the brewery in 1919. By investing in new brewing installations, Henri III can now also produce bottom-fermented beers.
In the 1930s, Henri III sets the tone in the brewing world by producing his bock beer and a new light lager. This light lager became very popular.
After the second World War, the American influence in Europe is clearly noticeable. Always looking to innovate, Henri III starts with the distribution of water, lemonade and cola.
De Halve Maan keeps growing, but the brewery does not forget its loyal customers. All beverages are still delivered with horse and cart. Later, also with the well-known Halve Maan trucks.
Although Henri IV had already been active in the brewery for a long time, it was not until 1958 that the takeover of the brewery was set down in writing. The company was still managed by both father and son.
Daughter Véronique Maes, the fifth generation of the brewing family, joined het father in 1981. At the time, she was one of the very first female brewers.
Véronique Maes and her father Henri IV launched the beer 'Straffe Hendrik' that same year. The name 'Straffe Hendrik' translates as 'Strong Hendrik' and was dedicated to the numerous 'Hendriks' (or Henris) in the family.
Véronique Maes starts a thorough renovation of De Halve Maan. She found a balance between modern comfort and the authentic elements of the brewery.
In the different rooms of the brewery people can now organise all kinds of events. There was also the museum, where visitors discovered the secrets of the centuries-old brewing tradition.
In 2005 Xavier Vanneste, son of Véronique Maes and sixth generation of De Halve Maan, revived the brewery with the launch of Brugse Zot. The future of Brewery De Halve Maan was assured as this top-fermenting beer was an immediate success. He modernises the brewing installation and starts expanding the brewery further.
The beers of Brewery De Halve Maan are very successful, and they win multiple prestigious awards internationally.
Due to the increasing popularity of the beers, Brewery De Halve Maan is forced to expand its capacity. The brewery decides to open its first bottling plant just outside the city centre of Bruges (Waggelwater).
A year full of innovation for brewery De Halve Maan.
With a new tavern and a state-of-the-art brewing hall, the family is ready for the future!
The construction of our world-famous underground beer pipeline was realised in 2016. Partly thanks to the support of many crowdfunders. Since then, all our beer flows underground. The pipeline connects our brewery in the historical centre of Bruges to our bottling plant just outside the city. Having a total length of 3.3 km!
By doing so, we divert a lot of heavy road traffic from the beautiful centre of Bruges. A positive environmental impact. Next to this, it was also essential for us to keep the production in our authentic brewery in the city centre. Today, every litre of beer is still being brewed in the original location in Bruges.
Brouwerij De Halve Maan was the first brewery in Belgium to launch a non-alcoholic speciality beer. Sportzot was launched in June 2018.
We start off with the well-known Brugse Zot Blond, which is brewed with 4 different malts and 2 aromatic hop varieties. A revolutionary new technique of filtering allows us to filter out the alcohol in a natural way.
De Halve Maan is one of the fastest growing breweries in Belgium. Growing also means expanding. The first brick of our new bottling plant was laid.
A new bottling plant that will triple our capacity and ensure our growth. We'll be able to to fill up to 24000 bottles and 180 barrels every hour. In addition, this new and state-of-the-art processing centre uses the best available techniques in terms of saving energy and raw materials. This allows us to be more efficient, perform better and above all work more flexibly.
By 2022 our new bottling plant was fully operational. With a crowdlending campaign we were looking for funding to make our bottling plant even greener.
It was a very successful campaign. After only 1 day the brewery had raised the full amount. With this funding our brewery wants to add two green upgrades: installing solar panels and constructing a state-of-the-art water filtering installation. By doing so, we’re able to further reduce our ecological footprint.