UNESCO recognises Belgian beer culture as intangible world heritage
Brewing and the appreciation of beer are very much part of the living heritage of communities all around Belgium. Now the world is catching up to what Belgians have always known with the 2016 decision by UNESCO to add “beer culture in Belgium” onto the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This distinctive national beer culture is part of everyday life for Belgians, really coming into its own when they get together to celebrate something.
There are around 1,500 beers brewed in Belgium using a variety of fermentation methods. Many Belgian beers have a long history and are big names, but since the 1980s it is the craft beer sector that has really flourished.
There is also a strong regional element to the Belgian beer scene, with many parts of the country producing their own distinctive beer styles. The province of Hainaut, on the border with France, is a prime example. In this part of Wallonia lie the roots of Brasserie de Silly, and the saison style, one of a range of Silly beers that are not only great to drink alone, but also work beautifully in cooking and alongside fine food.
Belgium’s unique beer culture also has a growing green aspect. Many breweries, including Brasserie de Silly, support sustainable business practices: they are often very local in character, use recyclable packaging, and are pioneering new brewing technologies that are kind to the environment and save on water and energy.
On 19th May, 2017 Brasserie de Silly joined the celebrations of the UNESCO recognition of Belgian Beer Culture in Brussels. This is a great honour and a wonderful compliment to the Belgian beer sector.
Lionel Van der Haegen, Managing Director