A newspaper once claimed that our chimney had been out of service for years.
Many years ago we read in a newspaper article: "The enormous chimney of Haacht Brewery looms large even from a distance. I have never seen smoke rising from it, so it must have been out of use for years". There were other mistakes in the article too...
When our brewery was established in 1898, high factory chimneys were seen as the symbol of a thriving business. The more chimneys, the more prosperous the business. This was true for local residents too, as factories provided work and therefore a steady income. So it's no surprise that at that time factories were always depicted with lots of chimneys. Chimneys emitting dark, horizontal plumes of smoke. It must have been very windy in those days! ;-)
It was no different for us. But like other businesses, over the years some of our chimneys have been removed. A disused chimney can fall into disrepair and pose a real danger. We have one chimney still standing: an architectural feat in brick that’s been in continuous use since 1910. It serves as the outlet for flue gases generated by steam production. Steam that’s needed to heat up the brewing kettles.
In 2008 we began to produce our steam using natural gas. We decided to keep the original chimney, but it had to be adapted for optimum removal of the gases. An 80 metre high crane was used to place a steel pipe in the chimney. An impressive spectacle, which could be seen for miles around.
During the work it became clear that the chimney was in urgent need of restoration. The effect of exposure to the elements over the years meant it no longer stood straight. To rescue the chimney we had to reduce it to 35 metres during 2012. Still a very respectable height.
Retaining our chimney was a very conscious choice. It has been a landmark in the region for more than a hundred years, and above all it's a symbol of the rich history we are so proud of. It can no longer be seen emitting a plume of black smoke, at most some condensation steam, particularly during the winter.
So the chimney is still in use. Don't let any newspaper or website tell you otherwise! :-)
The pictures show what an impressive job it was to place the steel pipe into the chimney.