Tradition, Unreconstructed

image18-mainBy Alan Hope

How Sint Bernardus emerged from France, cheese and Westvleteren.

Belgian breweries prize their history and tradition, in theory. In practice it hasn’t always worked out that way.

“I’m reconstructing our history, because I came here 10 years ago and they hadn’t kept anything,” says Marco Passarella, sales and marketing manager for Sint Bernardus brewery in Watou in Poperinge. “Everything had been given away or thrown out.”

We’re sitting in the visitors’ room, the walls covered with enamel advertising signs. “Everything you see here I had to buy on eBay. And still today, there’s a lot of stuff we don’t own, all of our old signs for example. We’ve seen them on the Web. Somebody has them, but we don’t.”

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