Limburg White Beer was launched on 4 June 1993 by NV Duo-Brouw, a partnership of two family breweries in Limburg: Sint-Jozef in Opitter and Martens in Bocholt. The Limburg White Beer is an unfiltered high-fermentation beer that is brewed according to a slow brewing procedure. No additional yeast is added afterwards, the final product that is poured into barrels or bottles has already attained its best possible taste, thanks to the original brewing yeast. We, of course, use wheat in the brewing of our Limburg White Beer, but also several natural herbs, and no chemical flavourings or preservatives. The development, brewing and bottling of Limburg White Beer is taken care of at the Sint-Jozef Brewery in Opitter, distribution and promotion are organised together by both breweries.
Awarded the Silver Medal for Quality in 1997.
OVER A CENTURY OF BEER HISTORY
Although the exact founding date is not known, local archives do show that the Sint-Jozef Brewery was founded by the Vissers family.
Of Thomas Vissers, who died in 1807, we know that he was a native of the Den Bosch area in the Netherlands and that his wife was a descendant of an English Lord. Besides that, we know that his son Johannes, who was the mayor of Opitter for a long time, lived in a large residence that comprised of a brewery and stables and was located on Opitter village square. His daughter continued to live there after his death and she married Jozef Cornelissen. It was at that moment that the Cornelissen name became inextricably linked to the brewery.
The three sons that were born from this marriage each went their own different way. Jozef started a lemonade factory, Leo took charge of the bottling plant and Jaak became a beer brewer. In 1934/1935 Jaak built a new brewery, where he first started to brew Pax Pilsner in 1937. Alongside this beer, which was sold in bottles and barrels, the brewery also brewed the stronger Ops-Ale, which was sold exclusively in bottles. At the end of the 1940s, Jaak took over both the bottling plant and the lemonade factory. Years later his sons, Jan and Leo, gained control of the business, and took the first steps towards exporting their beers. In 1972 Jef Cornelissen entered the frame. He brought a breath of fresh air into the brewery and became the sole owner of the brewery in 1980 after his father died unexpectedly.
1980… A FRESH START
As we outlined in the short historical overview, the current manager Jef Cornelissen has been in charge of the Sint-Jozef Brewery since 1980. Just like his grandfather Jaak, he is “infected” with the brewing bug.
He is well aware of the fact that stagnation equals eventual decline in any business. Therefore he started investing in modern machinery, technology and buildings, though without ever renouncing the ancient brewing tradition. His first purchase was a new bottling line. As soon as that line was up and running, he introduced a completely new fermentation area in two phases. No fewer than 9 cylindroconical fermenters with a content of 50,000 litres each were erected. Alongside the new fermentation installations, a new storage area was also constructed.
From bottles, via fermentation, to the barrels. The old barrel filling line was also replaced by a fully automatic new line. In 1995 attention was turned to the conditioning process. Twenty-two new conditioning vessels were mounted in a brand new, fully air-conditioned building. Together with the conditioning area the filtering area was renovated and housed appropriately.
Apart from this radical renovation of equipment and machinery, environmental concern also formed a significant part of the investment plan. The complete waste water flow was separated, for example. Industrial waste water, rainwater and household waste water are discharged through separate channels. A so-called green shield of trees and shrubbery was erected around the site, and every single possible effort is made to prevent possible odour and sound nuisance. The brewery does indeed value its position as an industrial and traditional company, located in the heart of the residential nucleus of Opitter. It should be possible to form a harmonious community together with the other inhabitants of the village. The village has, after all, traditionally always had a brewery in its midst.