Top beer exporters

Dutch ahead in Europe

In 2021, the top Beer exporters were Mexico ($5.49B), Netherlands ($2.11B), Belgium ($1.98B), Germany ($1.38B), and United Kingdom ($513M).
According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Netherlands is still Europe’s biggest exporter of beer, and globally is second only to Mexico.
In 2020, Dutch breweries exported more than two billion euros worth of (non-alcoholic) beer. According to CBS, Heineken is, unsurprisingly, the largest exporter.

In Europe, Belgium comes in a close second; while the Netherlands has been the largest European exporter since 2000, Belgium is quickly closing the gap between the two countries. The Dutch neighbor exported 1,8 billion euros worth of (non-alcoholic) beer last year, climbing ahead of Germany and France who occupy third and fourth place respectively.

Top beer exporters, other source

Below are the countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of beer during 2020.

  •     Mexico: US$4.3 billion (28.4% of total beer exports)
  •     Netherlands: $2.1 billion (14.1%)
  •     Belgium: $2 billion (13.3%)
  •     Germany: $1.3 billion (8.4%)
  •     United States: $645.6 million (4.3%)
  •     United Kingdom: $525.5 million (3.5%)
  •     France: $386.4 million (2.6%)
  •     Czech Republic: $297 million (2%)

Source: Beer exports by Country

Belgian beer for everyone

Abbey beers, Trappists, doubles, triples, brown, blonde, or white Belgian beers are known worldwide for their variety. We estimate there are around 3000 different beers in our country spread out over more than 200 breweries. With so much variety, there’s bound to be a type of beer for everyone, whether you like sour, bitter, or sweet. If a traditional blonde “pilsner” doesn’t do it for you, check out which unique beers Belgium makes, maybe there will be one for you!

International Beer Day – 4 August 2023

Or Journée Internationale de la bière – Internationale dag van het bier.
Belgian beer is an excellent cultural export for Belgium and plays an essential role in our economy. Every year, Belgium exports over 6 billion pints! What’s more, our country brews at least 1,500 different beers in over 400 breweries. Internationally, we’re best known for the excellent flavor of our beer. In short, we can be proud of our Belgian beer!Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Belgium


Belgian beers in Beijing

More discoveries

My list of Belgian beers in Beijing that I bought and tasted is growing.
See here some of the new ones in the list:

This now the latest list: Beer bottles.pdf
See also: Belgian beer

Bob’s Wine shop

The small shop on Xindong lu has several Belgian beers. In summer it’s nice to sit outside.

There I did make some new discoveries.

Other interesting locations to find Belgian beers

Actually you can find Belgian beers in many bars and restaurants.
Here some.

I found the Bloembier in a Japanese restaurant on Xindong lu, very near the Greek Freak that also has a few different Belgian beers.
Then we have the famous “Heaven Supermarket”: a vast underground beer, disco and music hall under Shimao Gongsan (corner Gongti bei lu and Xindong lu). There are vast fridges where you find an enormous variety of beers and alcohol. Self-service, pay at the checkout and take to a table. Life bands and disco in separate sections.

Comparing Sint-Bernardus and Westvleteren

I had received several Westvleteren bottles from a Belgian diplomat leaving, the ones without a sticker.
A few days later we did a tasting in Morel’s Restaurant to compare it with a St. Bernardus Abt 12, that we feel is the closest in taste.

Later on I bought online in Beijing the 3 different Westvleteren beers for a bit less than 50 euro.
Westvleteren and Sint-Bernardus are said to be the same but there are some differences. The water used is different and that has an influence. For Westvleteren the monks use a Westmalle yeast while for Sint-Bernardus they use the old Westvleteren yeast. This according to this source.
Other articles such as this one still tell another brewing story:

Beijing TRB Iberico

One more location

Our famous Ignace Lecleir has opened a new location in Beijing, Beijing TRB Iberico, one more restaurant in his chain, the TRB Hospitality Group. Other restaurants are TRB Hutong, Fork by TRB, Iberico by TRB, Peach and TRB Catering. The new restaurant is located in a building sitting on Liangma river near Kempinski Hotel, Maizidian Jie. Many years ago it was a SPA where I was a member for some time. The opening received a lot of attention in the media, see here in TheBeijinger.
I was curious to try it and on 2 October 2023 we went for dinner. Pleasant surprise to see unexpectedly Ignace at the entrance. He took so much care of us, with a nice table overlooking the river and a menu he composed and ordered for us.

We were really spoiled with a great red after some sparkling wine. And a stream of dishes with no end.
All the dishes were pieces of culinary art, bone marrow with tartare, seafood paella, mushroom balls, foie gras, toasts with all kinds of goodies, salad with Iberico ham, crispy duck, egg and tuna, steak, fish, … I lost count.

What a service

It was a unique dining experience in Beijing TRB Iberico with personal service of Ignace Lecleir  plus the other staff, always attentive. It is not cheap but you get an unforgettable evening. If you want to impress a guest, the place to be.
We made a short video you can watch here (needs VPN in China): Beijing TRB Iberico

Later on several of my friends also tried it and were very happy.
Interesting to note is that Ignace and Renaat (Morel) are good friends and dine at each other’s restaurant. They are both Belgians promoting the best in cuisine here in Beijing.

Beijing Ancient Observatory

The Royal Asiatic Society of Beijing

The Royal Asiatic Society of Beijing organized a journey back in time with a visit to the Beijing Ancient Observatory and Ming City Wall Ruins Park on 14 April 2019.
This the detailed overview as announced in my previous post.
The private tour of the Beijing Ancient Observatory was with commentary by a local expert on the history and the various astronomical devices.
This is the first part, about the observatory. Next post will be about the Ming City Wall Ruins Park.
The Beijing Ancient Observatory is located south of Jianguomen subway Exit C. See the view from the diplomatic apartments near the flyover, where I also lived for a few years in the eighties, see the red building. Some views from the observatory on the Second Ring and Chang’An Avenue.

Built in 1442 during the Ming Dynasty, this observatory is one of the oldest in the world. As the Emperor was considered the “Son of Heaven”, astronomy and the movement of the planets and stars were extremely important to Chinese cosmology. Later it was updated with the help of European Jesuits including Ferdinand Verbiest and Adam Schall von Bell.

The tour

See the pictures of the instruments with some of the explanations. We had a VIP visit to the observatory under a blue sky, followed by a tour of the exhibition halls, exhibits and statues in the courtyard. Some children were also visiting and making drawings of the instruments. See the pictures of the exhibition area.
As an engineer I was amazed by the complexity and ingenuity of the instruments. To be honest, no clue how those worked!
Our Ferdinand Verbiest is prominently displayed.

Recent book

Veerle De Vos wrote a book in Dutch about Ferdinand Verbiest “Ferdinand Verbiest en de ontdekking van China. Alles onder de hemel” published by Pelckmans.

See her interview here.
And her interview on VRT

In the footsteps of Ferdinand Verbiest

400 years

The Provincial Governor and the Mayor of Pittem organized a commemorative event entitled ‘In the footsteps of Ferdinand Verbiest’ on Friday 20 October 2023 in Beijing.
This event is an initiative of the Province of West Flanders and the Municipality of Pittem, with the support of the Howest Confucius Institute and the Embassy of Belgium.

On 9th October 2023, it was exactly 400 years since Jesuit Father Ferdinand Verbiest was born in the West Flemish municipality of Pittem, Belgium. Starting out in Pittem, he eventually became an advisor to Emperor Kangxi in the 17th century. Ferdinand Verbiest did more than practice astronomy, he also managed to surprise with numerous new and revolutionary instruments.

A large delegation from Flanders visited Hangzhou and Shanghai before the event in Beijing, with delegates from the Province of West Flanders,  the Municipality of Pittem, the University of Ghent and others.
Governor Carl Decaluwé became a Douyin sensation with his clip about Hangzhou!

The program

Prior to the visit the Belgian Ambassador Bruno Angelet visited the Beijing Ancient Observatory. The Director of the Observatory, Mr. Qi Rui, gave the ambassador a tour of the premises and recounted the observatory’s history and the development of Chinese astrology. See here the report of the visit with the background of Ferdinand Verbiest: 231016 Verbiest

October 9 marked the 400th of Ferdinand Verbiest’s birth. On this significant day, an international symposium took place in Beijing, where the Belgian Ambassador Bruno Angelet, esteemed sinology experts and scholars from various fields came together to honor the extraordinary legacy of Verbiest. See here the report of the symposium: 230921 FerdinandVerbiest.

The memorial event was organized in the afternoon of 20 October in the garden next to the Ancient Observatory. The delegates first visited the Observatory.

Morel’s Restaurant provided canapés and drinks before the speeches:

  • Welcome address ‘In the footsteps of Ferdinand Verbiest’ by H.E. Carl Decaluwé, Governor of West-Flanders
  • Opening remarks by H.E. Bruno Angelet, Ambassador for Belgium in China
  • ‘Flanders-China relations in the fields of science, research and trade’ by Koen De Ridder, Economic Representative of Flanders in Beijing
  • Music by the Chinese Orchestra of the Zhejiang Provincial Government
  • Monologue ‘The Discovery of Heaven’ by Kurt Defrancq, actor
  • ‘Ferdinand Verbiest, son of Pittem’ by H.E. Denis Fraeyman, Mayor of the Municipality of Pittem
  • ‘Imperial observatory, landmark of Beijing’ by H.E. Tang Li, Vice-Mayor of the Dongcheng district Beijing
  • ‘Ferdinand Verbiest’, by Dr. Huang Luqi, Vice President of CAST
  • ‘The image of Ferdinand Verbiest in China’ by Prof. Dr. Stephan Rothlin, Director of the Macau Ricci Institute at the University of St. Joseph, Macau
  • ‘The involvement of Verbiest at the Old Observatory’ by WANG Xiaofeng, Director of the Observatory
  • Unveiling ceremony of the commemorative plaque by Belgian and Chinese officials
  • Closing speech by H.E. Carl Decaluwé, Governor of West-Flanders

A great dinner

Later in the evening the delegation and invited guests were treated to a real Belgian dinner in Morel’s Restaurant.

Lively discussion! I also had the pleasure of meeting the delegates from the University of Ghent, where I received my Master in Engineering.

More details

I will soon publish the report of my visit to the Observatory on 14 April 2019 with many pictures of the instruments and the museum.
See here an earlier article about Verbiest,:
25 July 2019 – Belgian Father Ferdinand Verbiest
In 1659, Belgian Jesuit missionary Father Ferdinand Verbiest departed to China, initially to increase the pool of Chinese Christians. He however ended up taking a public test ordered by Emperor Kangxi to compare the merits of European and Chinese astronomy. Unlike his Chinese adversary, Father Verbiest succeeded in all the related tests, and was immediately installed as Director of the Beijing Observatory.
Read all: 190725 FerdinandVerbiest

See above details about the Verbiest Foundation in Leuven, Belgium. They publish a regular newsletter “Courier Verbiest”.