De Eeuuwige Jeugd : The key to life eternal?
Wednesday 07 March 2018
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It’s something you hear all the time in the craft beer world: “we’re just out to make the best beer we can; if we do that, the rest will take care of itself”. A very noble sentiment, sure, but also perhaps slightly hubristic. At Amsterdam’s De Eeuwig Jeugd brewery, however, there is a firm belief that this simply isn’t enough. “Making good beer should be a given,” goes the logic, “but a great, successful beer is as much about the package that goes around it.”
“What you’re trying to achieve with the magazine with Beer 52 is exactly what we’re trying to achieve here,” says co-founder Thomas xxxx. It’s not just about the beer, it’s about how you relate to it. There are many people who can make beer, so of course we’re trying to make the best tasting beer we can. Were always tweaking it, improving it. But beer is so much about the experience and the context that the story has to be good as well.”
It’s a marketing-led approach that could be viewed as cynical, if the beers themselves weren’t so damned good. Every brew in the core range has something distinctive about it – a little twist that sets it apart without being gimmicky – and brewed so expertly that there’s no way you could ever accuse De Eeuwig Jeugd of prioritising style over substance.
The brand’s core philosophy, encapsulated in the brewery name itself – which translates as ‘Eternal Youth’ – is a kind of beer-assisted self-determinism: the idea that each of us has within ourselves the capacity to be anything we want, if only we had the right bottle in our hand.
Marketing guru and co-founder xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx explains: “Particularly here in the Netherlands, you often get this idea that if you’re part of a particular generation, you’re expected to behave in a certain way. This generation’s brave, this generation’s greedy, this generation’s entitled. You can only eat fries, and chicken and be lazy. Our idea was to create a beer that says ‘it doesn’t matter where you come from what you do for a living what generation you come from; it’s about sharing moments and taking on certain attributes.
Each beer in the range has a particular character associated with it, and each character suggests a particular story or attitude which reflects the beer itself.
When you are drinking beer with your mates, you’re telling stories, making new memories and living in the moment. Our beers are designed to fit in with that moment and help shape it. We’re not saying they’ll affect you physically, of course. So, if you’re drinking Lellebel, it doesn’t make you a party animal but it might put you in the mindset of party animal. Then we have Gladjanus; it doesn’t make you a smooth-talking Slick Rick, but it might help you go and talk to that girl.
In a sense the characters flesh out the beers’ personalities,
continues Almer. “Gladjanus goes with everything because it’s a white IPA, really low alcohol and it’s fresh beer. Lellebel is a blond, fruity and easy-going. This guy, Bullebak, is a big beer with a big flavour, he will beat you up.”
De Eeuwig Jeugd is also helping shape expectations in the wider Amsterdam scene though, through initiatives like its Fresh IPA project. This monthly brew aims to have a new IPA kegged and into bars within 48 hours of leaving the tank, without ever having had the opportunity to warm up.
“It’s been really well received,” says Thomas. “Once bars get the idea, it’s something they promote on their social media feeds to get people in. Really fresh IPA is amazing, and when people discover the difference it makes, saying that you have it on tap becomes a real draw.”
With interesting, high quality beers wrapped in an attractive, high-concept package, it’s easy to forget De Eeuwig Jeugd have only been going for around 18 months. The team are so passionate about what they’re building though – both inside the bottle and out – that this feels like just the beginning of the brewery’s own story.
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