Today marks our fifth anniversary. And even though we are all about growing and moving forward, we simply could not let this moment pass without showing a little gratitude to our previous adventures, the people we have met along the way and the exciting journey lying ahead of us. So grab a Lowlander and sit back while our Chief Botanical Officer Frederik Kampman looks back and forward to our most memorable achievements and the ones yet to come.
Planting a seed
It all started with a simple idea. Having worked in a distillery making gin, one day while working on a new gin I wondered what would happen if you were to use the botanicals normally used in gin to give character and flavour to beer. I didn’t know then that little kernel of an idea would be the seed to the adventure which is now called Lowlander.
Exactly five years ago we sold the very first Lowlander bottle to the very first bar (Hotel V in Amsterdam), on that day the very first Lowlander beer was served to a guest who was looking to broaden their horizon by trying a botanically brewed beer. That first year was spent cycling around all the cities of the Netherlands with a vintage suitcase – handmade by my mother – telling everyone who was open to listen, the story of Lowlander and brewing with botanicals.
To growing up and out
After that first year things started to move rather fast. I knew I wasn’t going to grow Lowlander into something beautiful without some help, so building a great team around me was next. Annemieke joined as the first Lowlander and today we are a passionate team of 15.
In that space of time we have innovated with no & low alcohol, introducing our 0.00% Wit, 0.3% I.P.A. and 0.3% Organic Blonde Ale and our Ginger & Lime Leave beer at 2.5%. We have pushed the boat out in terms of using intriguing herbs, spices, fruits and even (Christmas) trees in the brewing process, tried our hand on distilling IPA genever and launched our very own cranberry & beer ketchup.
We have told countless stories, even on National television, hosted many sampling events, driven our Botanical Brew Bar from Amsterdam to Breda and all the way to Berlin and London, educated many on the benefits of beer over wine at the dinner table through our traveling Botanical Brew Kitchen concept: from countryside herb garden to our own 150 m2 pop-up restaurant at the Horecava. We have grown our very own Christmas tree forest, created a beer & food pairing navigator, hosted a great amount of Masterclasses and started our Grow Your Own initiative.
And we have branched out too. We went from the first couple of hundred bars & restaurants in year one, to over 4.000 partners who serve Lowlander in over 19 countries. From Canada, the Dutch Antilles, UK, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden, to Russia and beyond. We are proud to say that we are now the second biggest independent “new wave” beer brand of the Lowlands.
Weathering the storm
But it wasn’t always plain sailing. Last year was a year not easy to forget. We were just getting ready for Spring, our busiest time of the year, when the first announcement of bars and restaurant closures came. And although we were not as badly affected as our friends in the hospitality industry, we had to pivot quickly to survive the storm. So in came micro kegs for at home consumption, Back Your Bar programs, online beer & food dinners, a new webshop to sell Lowlander directly and a huge push to keep our beers available in the bottle shops and supermarkets.
Take less & give back
While always keeping our heads up high and remaining to stay positive, the urge to expand our positive impact towards nature grew bigger too. It’s our founding belief that a little bit of (Dutch) ingenuity combined with the power of nature creates limitless possibilities. Ever since our start in 2016, this belief has enabled us to be successful yet in this time we have seen the planet deteriorate. That is why we are conscious in terms of “taking less” by using the spare brew capacity at existing breweries, reclaiming oranges and lemons from bars, upcycling waste like we did with our Christmas trees and offering cans instead of bottles. At the same time we will try to “give back” as and when we can. So we have started using our business as a force for good and have planted our own Christmas Tree forest and started brewing a lager to fight climate change through Seagrass.
As our business continues to grow, we as a business and us as individual Lowlanders need to take responsibility to protect nature for generations to come. We are going to commit to creating a positive impact which is bigger than the size of our business. We will share more about how we are going to do things in the next two months.
To the future: thank you every 1
So five years on from serving the first Lowlander, seeing someone enjoying a Lowlander (and broadening their horizon when it comes to beer) and smiling after that first sip is still what gets me out of bed every morning. That is why we keep saying that every 1 counts. Every 1 trying a lowlander, every 1 discovering the story of trade and travel, every 1 exploring food & beer pairing or every 1 Lowlander served. Even after every 1 of those 5,312,598 Lowlanders served over the last 5 years, the next 1 counts just as much as the first. So thank you, every 1 of you.
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