Friday, 6 August 2021

Heineken's Rotterdam brewery in the 1920s

I'm most of the way through cooking a chicken curry. Not sure it's like a genuine curry. But it's tasting pretty good. I started cooking it a day or two ago. Once the cauliflower is cook through, it's done. Not all that hot, as Dolores doesn't like it too spicy. I'll just mix in some ground chili into my serving.

I'm going with a little report of a visit to Heineken's Rotterdam brewery in 1928 today. Not wildly informative, other than a couple of little details.

With “Industry” to Rotterdam.
An excursion to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Arnhem department of the Society of industry and trade.

The Arnhem department of the Netherlands Society for Industry and Trade has a reputation, if not in Holland, then certainly in Arnhem, in the field of organizing excursions. The later generations of members of the department know how well the board, and of all administrators to the highest degree the secretary, is able to organize trips, which provide the members with an extraordinarily pleasant and visually broadening day. That has been the case as long as we had the pleasure of experiencing excursions from “Industry”, and that was also the case on Wednesday 19 September, when an excursion was made to Rotterdam on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Arnhem department. To a greater extent: because it turned out to be a glorious anniversary excursion, which all participants, about thirty in number, will look back on fondly for a long time to come. The secretary, Mr. L. Thieme, has this time given extraordinary care to the preparations and he has succeeded in bringing the department members and guests an excursion that exceeded all expectations. Everything contributed to that. The chairman of the department, Prof. J. Klopper, was a cheerful and excellent leader of the group, which left the train at ten o'clock in the morning at the Rotterdam Maas station to immediately board waiting coaches to show his interest in Heineken's famous brewery. We note in advance that the excursion attracted considerable interest from the board of the Rotterdam Department of the company: from that side everything had been done to make the visit as pleasant as possible for the people of Arnhem by letting them, with the care of some board members for the provision of information. As a result, the journey through the northern and western districts of Rotterdam was a success in all respects. The ultimate goal was: Heineken's brewery, where the Management Board undertook the task of introducing the men of Industry, to the layout of the large, interesting company, which is again undergoing considerable expansion. Next to the factory, work is underway on a gigantic building (37 Meters high — the Rotterdam Witte Huis is 42 M), which will be intended to house part of the company.

In the brewery we became acquainted with the interesting process to which the barley is subjected in order to obtain the well-known Heinekens beer. At present the barley is still supplied from abroad — mostly from Czechoslovakia — but in consultation with the agricultural college, a trial is now being conducted with native barley. We became acquainted with the cleaning of barley, with the germination process, we visited the magnificent brewing hall, furnished after the design of the architect Kromhout, a beautiful hall, which arouses general admiration. The huge copper kettles set up here are capable of producing 400,000 litres of beer per day. It is remarkable that the gigantic brewery works almost entirely mechanically. An extremely small staff, no more than two or three men, is required for the control of many factory installations.

The brewing hall was followed by a visit to the gigantic cellars, to the cooling tanks, the fermentation cellar, the 'lagering cellar', in which enormous enamelled lagering casks have been set up. It is possible to store a quantity of 130,000 H.L. here! This was followed by a walk through the rooms, where the beer barrels are automatically filled, to another, where the empty barrels are automatically cleaned, to the expedition rooms and to the ice factory.

Finally, the management of the Heineken's brewery reunited the guests for lunch in one of the characteristic bars, which is part of the bowling alley at the factory. Here the Director welcomed everyone. At the table they had the opportunity to get acquainted with the excellent product of the brewery.

Heineken's brewery passes for the most modern enterprises in Europe: the product is known all over the world. Do you know that the Prince of Wales is accustomed to take Heineken beer with him on his travels?

With loud expressions of approval, Prof. Klopper thanked the Management of the brewery for the wonderful reception that was enjoyed here.
Arnhemsche courant 20-09-1928. 

Handy to know where their barley came from: Czechoslovakia. And not Dutch, which wasn't considered good enough for brewing. By the time WW II rolled around, that had changed, and Holland as producing most of its own barley. Just as well when forei8gn supplies dried up during the conflict.

400,000 litres a day is about 125,000 hl a year. Quite a lot less than the 299,053 hl they brewed om 1939. It also means that they had a lagering capacity that was about equal to their potential annual production. Seems a bit over the top to me.

The Prince of Wales in 1928 would have been the later Edward VIII. Not so sure I'd want to associate my beer with him.

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