Lambiek Fabriek selects U.S. importer, Winter Dog Cellars; beers headed stateside

There is great news for lambic beer lovers in the U.S.A.: Lambiek Fabriek, the highly regarded new lambic producer that I first covered in these pages in 2017 in this previous article, has selected a U.S. importer for their beers.

The logo of the new Brett Elle Oude Geuze from Lambiek Fabriek.

Winter Dog Cellars of Fairfax, Virginia, has inked an import deal with Lambiek Fabriek, which has burst onto Belgium’s lambic beer scene with a fury in the last few years. I recently spoke with Brian Hennighausen, President and Founder of Winter Dog Cellars, and he had this to say: “I first tasted Lambiek Fabriek at a bottle share where a friend had a few bottles that they had brought home from Belgium. Brett-Elle and Fontan-Elle were the bottles, and they were spectacular.”

Lambiek Fabriek Brett-Elle Oude Geuze. Sunshine, one of the mascots of Winter Dog Cellars, is in the background.

Brian added: “Lambiek Fabriek’s unique branding is really compelling, and fits exactly with how we are building and positioning our portfolio. They’ve found incredible success brewing a very difficult and very traditional style of beer, but are doing it with a fun and almost irreverent marketing approach. Their ‘No Brett No Glory’ tagline is frankly brilliant, and makes lambic and geuze more approachable for the casual drinker.”

About his new company, Brian remarked: “We are a boutique importer and wholesaler located in Northern Virginia, close to our nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C. Our goal is to seek out the best beer anywhere and everywhere in the world, and bring these beers to the U.S.”

He added “In our short time in business, only a year, we already have partners in seven countries, including the U.S., Canada, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Romania, and Panama, and a growing portfolio of over 20 brands.”

Lambiek Fabriek has made a highly impressive debut on the lambic beer scene in their first five years of existence, ramping up new beers and production fairly quickly, in lambic terms. Lambic is a style of beer that is, by its very nature, slow to mature and develop. The lambic maker has released no less than 13 different brews since it’s inception, including superb beers such as Oude Kriek Schar-Elle, which is made by steeping Belgium’s classic Schaarbeekse cherries in two year old lambic for a minimum of six months. I covered some of these new brews in this previous article.

Thirteen beers in five years might not sound like many in an age where breweries can pump out a hundred different IPA’s in a few years, but it is an impressive number for a lambic maker. It shows the motivation and dedication that Lambiek Fabriek has in attempting to master existing styles, and to create new, unique lambics that will be of interest to Belgian beer fans.

Lambiek Fabriek Oude Kriek Schar-Elle. This delicious lambic is made with Schaarbeekse cherries.
No Brett, No Glory.

Lambiek Fabriek’s motto is “No Brett, No Glory!” referring to the brettanomyces yeast strains that are the primary factor in their lambic’s funk and complexity.

Jo Panneels, one of the two founding partners of Lambiek Fabriek.

Note that Lambiek Fabriek was created when friends Jo Panneels (of Dworp) and Jozef Van Bosstraeten (of Sint-Genesius-Rode) started buying lambics from various producers many years ago, and blending it to make their own beers. That eventually evolved into starting their own lambic making business.

Brian says: “We plan to launch Lambiek Fabriek in our home market of Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., with simultaneous launches in the San Francisco Bay area of California; the greater New York City area; Florida; and Colorado. From there we will work with our partners at Lambiek Fabriek to identify and enter new markets with each new shipment, and to grow the brand domestically over the course of the next 18 months.”

The four Lambiek Fabriek beers that will be imported stateside.

Brian continued: “Our first container will arrive in mid-May, and will include Brett-Elle, Jart-Elle, Muscar-Elle, and Muri-Elle. It’s a great mix, and will really showcase the range of incredible talent that Jo and his team have.”

Lambiek Fabriek Jart-Elle Oude Kriek, their first fruit beer.

He added: “Honestly, they have been on our radar since before we even opened, and we are delighted to make them a cornerstone and flagship brand in our portfolio. We are honored to bring them to the U.S. for the first time, and look forward to sharing their incredible beers with fans in the U.S.A.”

I heartily agree. As a resident of Virginia, I look forward to being able to obtain these excellent lambics locally.

Some of the Lambiek Fabriek range of beers.

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