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  1. #1
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    Belgian Beer Cafe comes to the US

    60 US locations will see a Belgian Beer Cafe open over the next 3-4 years, one of them being Newrak-Liberty Intl Airport.
    Licensing for these franchises are all granished through...guess who...AB Inbev.
    I have never been to one of these cafes internationally, but I would imagine the term "cookie-cutter" is fairly fitting, or at least it's what we'll see here in the US.
    According to the website (www.belgianbeercafe.us), this will be a bar/restaurant setting, serving beer and food with aptly Belgian sounding names...like "Abbey cheese croquettes with pear syrup".
    The actual beer selection seems to range in quality, from a very standard Stella Artois, to a Westmalle Tripel or Hoegaarden "Forbidden Fruit" series.
    Not sure how this will pan out, but I fear a very watered down, yet expensive interpretation of a well intended thing.

    The first Belgian Beer Café is tentatively scheduled to open at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey in late 2011 / early 2012. Franchise / licensing projections call for the opening of approximately 60 Belgian Beer Cafés in the U.S. within three to four years.
    Creneau International, one of Belgium’s premier interior design agencies, owns the Belgian Beer Café concept outright in the U.S. from Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns the rights to all non-U.S. franchises and licenses the Belgian Beer Café concept elsewhere throughout the world. There are more than 60 Belgian Beer Cafés in about a dozen countries.
    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Beer Me!
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    Mixed opinion on this one.

    Yes its AB inbev, and yes it may be cookie cutter with a ridiculousness menu, two very bad things. But once again i think it could really help the american craft scene. I fall back to what i keep saying, anything that increases the average Americans awareness of beer other than "generic lager" is good for the craft beer market. I think we know that the majority of beers served will be "generic" beligians to the beer nerd, such as duval, chimay, st bernardis, etc... and not the super rarities, but i regularly have to view beer from the regular guys viewpoint, and these beers would be really exciting. One thing that would not make sense is to serve american lager, so more room for little guys to get some taste time.

    This could be even better if these "cafe's" started serving american micro-brews. Overall i think this cloud has a big silver lining.

    Here is my silver lining on this,

  3. #3
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    I see it as another way for AB InBev to try and establish themselves in the craft beer market. And people who don't know any better will willingly support the companies that have long monopolized the industry.

    It's just going to make it even harder for the "little guy" to get a shot. I'll appreciate what it does for awareness, but I'll still take my business to the local guy.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    I see it as another way for AB InBev to try and establish themselves in the craft beer market. And people who don't know any better will willingly support the companies that have long monopolized the industry.

    It's just going to make it even harder for the "little guy" to get a shot. I'll appreciate what it does for awareness, but I'll still take my business to the local guy.
    I completely agree with going with the local guy!

    I am having trouble seeing what AB has to gain by opening these cafe's. To my knowledge the only beers that are part of AB-inbev that would fit in this market are Hoegarden and Stella, both of which are meh beers. They will be forced to include at least chemay, duval, etc... which they do not own (yet). Yes, yes, the money spent at these cafe's will go into the wallet of AB, but that has to be a drop in the ocean of their actual income. They also can't display loud and proud AB signs, as they would not fit the "posh Belgian" theme they are going for. I am confused on what there "evil" plan actualy is? the only thing i can come up with is they want to control the direction of craft growth by selectively introducing it to the mass market through these cafe's, but that seems risky compared to introducing people to craft and losing there market share.

  5. #5
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    Belgian Beer Cafe=an Applebees that serves Stella.

  6. #6
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    Also, who is the marketing genius who came up with "Belgian Beer Cafe'"?

    That is the most homogenized, beige restaurant/bar name I've ever heard of.

    I'm thinking of opening up a new place in my town. I think I'll call it "Place that serves food and beer and stuff". What do you guys think?

  7. #7
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    I'd rather see more places like these:

    Monk's Kettle or La Trappe in SF, CA (gastropubs with great Belgian beer):

    The Monk's Kettle

    La Trappe Cafe



    Gustav's in Portland, OR (German food and beer):

    gustav's

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    I'm thinking of opening up a new place in my town. I think I'll call it "Place that serves food and beer and stuff". What do you guys think?
    I would go there if it was locally owned! Heck, the "stuff" in your name could be any sort of wonderful addition, Like food and beer and bikes, or food and beer and crack, or food and beer and fluffy little pajama kittens.

    Fort Collins has a newly opened place that serves many a Belgian:
    100 Beers on Tap | Mayor of Old Town
    Best of all they clean there lines every time a keg is changed or every week minimum!

    I would be willing to bet that in 5 months the nice beers will taste like crap due to filthy lines.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Belgian Beer Cafe=an Applebees that serves Stella.
    . ABInbev = Meh. I'll continue to support my local, non-chain pubs.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    I'd rather see more places like these:

    Monk's Kettle or La Trappe in SF, CA (gastropubs with great Belgian beer):

    The Monk's Kettle

    La Trappe Cafe



    Gustav's in Portland, OR (German food and beer):

    gustav's
    That's the thing I don't get about this "Belgian Beer Cafe'" concept. Doesn't every major city in the U.S. have at least one or two places already doing the same thing but better? I can almost guarantee that if they put one of these in SF, Portland, Seattle or SD it will be hemorrhaging money within a year.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    I am confused on what there "evil" plan actualy is? the only thing i can come up with is they want to control the direction of craft growth by selectively introducing it to the mass market through these cafe's, but that seems risky compared to introducing people to craft and losing there market share.
    I think it's less "evil" and more "desperate". They see where the growth in the market is and they want a piece.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrookeiv View Post
    . ABInbev = Meh. I'll continue to support my local, non-chain pubs.
    After checking out the website a little more I would like to amend my previous statement. This is clearly more like the Cheesecake Factory of beer bars.

    "How important is the venue where you dine? We think it is very important. The first thing that strikes you in the Belgian Beer Café® is the warm and cozy atmosphere. Next, you note that the friendly waiters and waitresses are decked out in elegant white. And then you order the best beer (or cheesecake) of your life."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    That's the thing I don't get about this "Belgian Beer Cafe'" concept. Doesn't every major city in the U.S. have at least one or two places already doing the same thing but better? I can almost guarantee that if they put one of these in SF, Portland, Seattle or SD it will be hemorrhaging money within a year.
    Maybe it's so hipsters will feel better drinking European beers that nobody has ever heard of if they don't have to compete with actual beer geeks

    We have Monk's Cafe (Monk's Cafe - The soul of Belgium in the Heart of Philadelpiha) here in Philly, and I know for a fact, it would not end well for Blegian Beer Cafe.
    Hell...they even serve frogs legs!

    The press release from Creneau International reads like an awful sales pitch...which I guess it is.
    Belgian Beer Café fills a unique niche for potential investment groups and franchisees as an international brand and appealing concept, with an authentic atmosphere and world-class design and construction services.
    I just wonder if this does take off, how long until it feels the "Starbucks" effect?
    When people realized that Starbucks was too corporate, too mainstream, and they started re-seeking out the real "local" beanery.
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  14. #14
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    We had an authentic Belgium brewpub here in Spring Hill, Fl open under the name St. Sebastiaan. THe family was from Belgium and built a first class brewpub, the only prob was the menu was awful- just authentic Belgium food which was ok for a couple visits but got old pretty quick. They had a pathetic line-up of beers-a light beer, a blonde, nothing like a double, triple, etc. A real shame, I shed a tear every time I drove by there seeing the brewing equipment through the window. Needless to say they folded pretty quick.

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    I had my fingers crossed for another branch of Delirium Cafe.

  16. #16
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    Belgian beer cafe would be easy. Draft cheapo like Leffe or Jupiler. Serve Orval or Chimay which are plentiful for someone who wants a little better beer. Sell the national food...Frites. Done.

  17. #17
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    I just checked their locations. I have actually been to one of them. I went to Olivier in Leiden, The Netherlands when we were at Keukenhof for the tulip festival. The food was amazing. I had roasted rabbit in beer sauce. If you think this is like a Cheesecake Factory, you need to get out of the US before you make wrong accusations. The world doesn't revolve around American style cookie cutter eateries.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    I see it as another way for AB InBev to try and establish themselves in the craft beer market. And people who don't know any better will willingly support the companies that have long monopolized the industry.

    It's just going to make it even harder for the "little guy" to get a shot. I'll appreciate what it does for awareness, but I'll still take my business to the local guy.
    You realize that Chimay is a Trappist brewery and can't make money right? They can make enough to support the Abbey and one charity of their choice. Sure Stella is the Bud of Belgium, but many of the beers they list you won't find in the US. Only beer I see missing is Orval.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by spookyload View Post
    You realize that Chimay is a Trappist brewery and can't make money right? They can make enough to support the Abbey and one charity of their choice. Sure Stella is the Bud of Belgium, but many of the beers they list you won't find in the US. Only beer I see missing is Orval.
    By "little guy" I meant locally-owned establishments.

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