Building a Dream

image010Wilderen’s Mike Janssen has the energy of 10, and the projects to apply it to, as Alan Hope finds out

Under Mike Janssen’s brewery and distillery at Wilderen, in Limburg province, there’s a secret cellar where the original owners would store illicit liquor distilled on the premises, but never intended for the eyes of the excise men. There’s no secret cellar to Mike Janssen himself, though. Everything is out there for all to see. He’s a big guy, tall and broad with a silvery mane and a flashing toothy smile, but it’s his energy that makes you feel as if you’re standing in a wind-tunnel of personality. His distilling column of copper and brass looks like something from the imagination of Jules Verne, but it’s the owner you expect to launch through the roof at any minute.

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