At this current time, Grolsch is no longer its own company. In October 2016 Grolsch was bought over by Asahi Breweries Europe Group (Grolsch, 2021). Although the name Grolsch has been around since 1922, the heritage of this beer goes back all the way to the early 1600’s! The name and owners of the beer has been changed several times throughout history but the name Grolsch only appeared when two companies (De Enschedesche Bierbrouwerij and De Klok) merged together to create De Grolsche Bierbrouwerij. (Grolsch, 2021)
The beer originates as far back as May 11th, 1615 when Willem Neerfeldt bought a property in Grol to start a brewery. This story gets interesting as you would expect Williem’s name to be the founder of Grolsch but the founder of the famous beer was one of Williem’s brewers, Peter Kuijper. Peter was extremely passionate about creating the best tasting beer but due to tradition, the only way to take over Willem’s brewery was to marry Willem’s daughter Jenneken. Peter was determined to win the hand of Jenneken and he even failed 3 times. it wasn’t until he finally perfected his beer by using two hops that she finally married Peter. After that point, Peter lived a very successful life and the company itself would be passed on from son to son until the name of the company would change several times until the company was bought over by Asahi.
Below is a corporate video for Grolsch:
- In 1876, the demand for Grolsch had become so large that a second brewery was built outside the city walls.
- In 1897, the owners of Grolsch invented the swingtop bottle which allowed people to always have fresh beer without the need of a bottle opener.
- In 1972, Grolsch went international thanks to its success in the Dutch market (Grolsch, 2021).
- In 1995, Grolsch earns the royalty reward and changes their name from Grolsche Brouwerij N.V. to Koninklijke Grolsch Brouwerij N.V. (Koninklijke translates to royalty).
Brewing science and industrialization
For the brewing science portion of this section, the majority of the scientific discoveries that have happened revolve around yeast. The majority of this is focused on the Grolsch 0.0% beer. Other than that, Grolsch tries to stay with the same water supply and the same types of hops in order to keep their fantastic taste.
For the industrialization portion of this section, industrialization has impacted Grolsch, by Grolsch going international and expanding significantly in 1972. The evolution of advertisement also impacted Grolsch in a very positive way. Then finally, in recent years, Grolsch was taken over by Asahi, which had the biggest influence on Grolsch.
Below I have listed each style of beer and given a direct quote straight from the Grolsch website providing their own description of each beer style:
- Grolsch Premium Pilsner
“Our Premium Pilsner has a naturally green hop aroma, a crisp finish and a clean, confident bitterness from the combination of two Hallertau hops: Emerald and Magnum. This is joined by supporting malty flavours from both pale and specifically chosen malts (Premium Pilsner, Grolsch).”
- Grolsch Weizen
“Grolsch Puur Weizen delivers its substance from the mix of wheat and barley malts, original German Weizen yeast and the Magnum bitter hop – which together give us the unique and full-flavoured refreshment of our Weizen. Our Weizen is a golden color wheat beer – refreshing with sparkling, spicy aromas of cloves and ripe fruits (Weizen, Grolsch).”
- Grolsch Radler
“The Grolsch Radler delivers real substance with their super refreshing taste, rooted in real beer combined with real fruit juice. Both the 2% and 0.0% are naturally brewed from carefully selected ingredients mixed with real fruit and sparkling water from our spring. The result is a balance of lemon acidity, malty sweetness and bitterness that makes them both super refreshing and thirst quenching (Radler, Grolsch).”
- Grolsch 0.0%
”Drawing on more than 400 years of brewing progression, we use a special yeast (and advanced brewing techniques) to craft our natural 0,0% alcohol beer. The unique full fermentation process creates 0,0% alcohol without compromise on our full flavour. Grolsch 0,0% has a fresh, hoppy and full bodied taste with a pleasant, crisp after taste – that makes it the perfect thirst quencher for every moment of the day (00, Grolsch).”
The WI and WWII Era
Grolsch was originally created in a small town called Groenlo in the Netherlands. During the Second World War, the Netherlands was taken over which made it more difficult to produce beer. However, after the war, Grolsch heavily increased their advertising, which after a few decades, helped Grolsch go international. Therefore, Grolsch survived the wars with advertisements and expansions.
Consolidation has had a huge impact on the Grolsch beer in recent years. Although the wars did not greatly impact the ownership of the beer, ownership of the beer has passed around a handful of times due to recent trends that have heavily impacted the brewing industry. The two main trends include consolidation caused by the bigger brewing companies either merging, buying each other out, and breweries going international. Grolsch has been impacted by both of these trends, in 1946 Grolsch started exporting their beer, which helped the beer become increasingly successful in the dutch market. That success later on pushed Grolsch to go international in 1972. Grolsch was impacted by consolidation mainly in 2008 and 2016. In 2008 Grolsch was taken over by SABMiller, then in 2016 SABMiller was taken over by InBev, throughout the takeover Grolsch along with a few other beers was sold to Asahi. All of this puts Grolsch in the middle of the crossfire of these trends which have impacted half the global beer sales to come from four companies, two of which are InBev and SABMiller. (Howard, 2014)
Marketing and Branding
Grolsch focused heavily on marketing and branding, they succeeded quite a bit from mottos and advertisement campaigns. Shortly after the end of the second world war the family owners of the beer Grolsch hired Gerard Bummer who is an advertising professional in 1949. In the 1950’s Grolsch launched a “Beer connoisseurs demand Grolsch” advertising campaign. Following this campaign, in the late 1950’s Gerard Bummer created the motto “Craftsmanship is Mastery”. In fact the motto is still well used with the advertising of Grolsch beer to this very day. Although the motto was well known in the brewing industry and had Grolsch many sales, at the start of the 80’s Grolsch wanted to spice things up and they did when they asked their advertising agents to create a new motto for Grolsch. They came up with a new motto “One day…you no longer drink beer, you drink Grolsch!”. In 1997 Grolsch started another campaign under the theme “When it’s time, it’s time for Grolsch”. Majority of Grolsch’s campaigns involved short films and advertisements.
In the new modern era there have been many new trends impacting the brewing industry. These trends include neolocalism, beer tourism, sustainability, Technology/innovation, non-traditional/altering beer, and responsible drinking. Although there are many trends, Grolsch has been mainly impacted by the following: sustainibility, technology/innovation, and non-traditional/altering beer. Before understanding how these trends directly impacted Grolsch, you must first understand exactly what these trends mean. The trend “sustainability” means many brewing companies have been including sustainability for environmental, economical, or social reasons into their brewing process. The trend “technology/innovation” means brewing companies are including a selection of modern technologies and innovations into their brewing process. The trend “non-traditional/altering beer” means many brewing companies are indulging in non/traditional or altering beers in order to keep up with the needs and wants of the modern era beer drinkers. Grolsch indulged themselves in the sustainability trend by becoming one of the most eco-friendly brewing companies out there. In 2007 Grolsch created the new transparent green bottle. But these bottles were not just stylish but they were also recyclable. Grolsch also had their hands in the technology/innovation trend by taking full advantage of the constantly improving digital marketing to gain more sales. Grolsch has as well had its hand in the non-traditional/altering beer trend. In order to keep up with the competition with this trend Grolsch created the Grolsch 0.0% alcohol beer. This beer brought them so much success that in 2018 Grolsch received the gold medal for non-alcoholic beer in the European Beer Star Competition.
Grolsch, (2021). History. Grolsch NL. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.royalgrolsch.com/content/history
Grolsch Brewery, . (Artist). (2017). Grolsh logo. [Image of painting]. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grolsch_Brewery#/media/File:Grolsch-Logo.png
YouTube. (2019). Grolsch corportate video. YouTube. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT9gSqvK9W0.
Grolsch (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://www.grolsch.com/our-beers/grolsch-00
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Holodny, E. (2015, September 16). A Budweiser-Miller Brewing Company would be a monster. Business Insider. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.com/sabmiller-ab-inbev-would-dominate-the-beer-market-2015-9
Howard, P. H. (2014). Too big to ale? Globalization and consolidation in the beer industry. In The geography of beer (pp. 155-165). Springer, Dordrecht.
Lobreau, C. (2020, June 15). Review: Grolsch Non-alcoholic Radler (Citroen/lemon). BeerCrank.ca. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.beercrank.ca/2020/06/review-grolsch-non-alcoholic-radler.html
Premium Pilsner. Grolsch (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://www.grolsch.com/our-beers/grolsch-premium-pilsner
Radler. Grolsch (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://www.grolsch.com/our-beers/grolsch-radler
Weizen. Grolsch (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://www.grolsch.com/our-beers/grolsch-weizen