Video: The Beer Idiots interview Maxime Lagrillière, one of the co-founders of L’Annexe Brasserie Fermenterie de Bruxelles.
Grégoire Berthon and Maxime Lagrillière have made a place for themselves on the Brussels beer scene, staying small and local, and showing they have what it takes to survive in a competitive market.
They have built up a range of six beers and fermented drinks such a tonic and ginger beer. It is also the story of a strong friendship. Lagrillière and Berthon have been friends since they were 12 or so in high school.
They went their own ways in their initial careers before renewing the friendship when they met up again in Brussels. Berthon was in fashion design, while Lagrillière was studying astrophysics.
They challenged themselves to run and brew beer. After running the Brussels half marathon race they started brewing their own beer once a month. As popularity grew among their friends, they upped that rate to once a week. They formed a company in January 2017. In May of the same year their first commercial beer hit the market as their take on a Belgian saison style.
They source 90 % of their ingredients in Belgium, trying to stay as local as possible. They produce about 500 hl a year, of which 200 hl was fermented drinks. They plan to experiment with other fermented beverages, which has helped them maintain sales when the bars closed or had restricted hours. They are thinking of other fermented products such as sake.
“For the fermentations, there is actually no one else who is doing what we are doing,” Lagrillière said, noting that it is all made from natural ingredients they source and cut themselves. “It is a craft of love and in the beverages you taste it.”
With their current installation in Saint Gilles they believe they can double production and reach more markets in Belgium outside of Brussels. They aim at reaching a size to be able to support themselves and not much more.