In the heart of Western Flanders, between Bruges and Courtrai, lies the community of Kortemark, in the famous Houtland (Woodland) region. In the main square, in the shadow of the church tower, there'' the Louwaege brewery that is still brewing artisanal beer. It all started in 1877. Placide Louwaege turned his back at agriculture and bought one of the then 5 existing breweries in Kortemark. Imade a good
reputation for itself and Alfons, Placide's son brought it to further growth. That was not so easy since the war had completely or partially destroyed the brewery and nearly all pubs. When Alfons's sons, Willy and Valère came to succeed him, the typical, artisanal
village breweries marketing top fermentation beers, were closed. Low fermentation beer, " lager beer " as the English called it, appeared on the market. And
mechanization and industrialization grew steadily in the brewing sector. Local breweries not following the new trend disappeared. In 1959 Jackie Louwaege, who had completed his studies as a brewing engineer in Ghent and had had training in Germany, England and Canada, came at the head of the fully expanding brewery. The brewery owned a number of pubs so that sales were ensured. The beer traders, mainly one man businesses, gained a great deal of sales of beer and lemonades through door-to-door service. As from the seventies, however, as a result of the vanishing of many smaller pubs and mainly of the growth of large-scale distribution, the beer sector was confronted with a revolution. The enormous price competition in the lager market through discounts and alos the decrease in table beer consumption got the once so active beer traders into trouble. The larger
breweries got themselves a firm place in the distribution network through vast discounts, while the beer trader with his higher prices saw melt away his door-to-door sales. The smaller breweries had their difficuties as their most important customers, the one-man beer shops, disappeared. The Louwaege brewery, however, maintained its position in these
difficult times thanks to the outstanding quality they offered and its local fame. A great help was the recommendation by a renowned consummers'magazine of their lager beer, called Akila after the eagle, the symbol of the brewery, being the best bargain. Also the Hapkin was a success. It is important to know that Louwaege does not pasteurize its beer which
prevents it can be kept for a long time, but instead improves its taste.