Video: In an interview on 26 May, Sven Gatz, a homebrewer, author and Minister for the Brussels-Capital Region, talks about brewing, and Belgium’s evolving beer culture.
Sven Gatz was born in the Sint-Agatha-Berchem municipality, part of the Brussels-Capital region.
From 1999 to 2011 he was member of the Flemish Parliament. In 2011 he left politics to become managing director of the Belgian Brewers association. This could be termed his time in “beer politics”, when he employed his skills to advocate for a more inclusive organisation to include small as well as the larger brewers.
In 2014 he returned to politics, holding various positions. He is now the Minister for the Brussels-Capital Region, among other responsibilities.
Gatz’s background is steeped in Belgium’s beer culture. His father founded a beer club in 1976 with some friends, when he was 10 years old. He likens that period to the ‘re-birth’ of Belgian beer culture.
Some Belgians began homebrewing as a hobby, noticing that many visitors from the US and elsewhere had taken an interest in Belgian styles of beer.
He took brewing courses over three years at Coovi-Elishout, graduating in 2011. With 12 members in his current club he brews up batches of about 200 litres, which they share among themselves.
Among his writings is his most recent book, Molenbeek: A Brussels Tale.