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The history of the Leffe brewery

The history of the Leffe brewery started in 1152 with the foundation of Notre-Dame de Leffe. This abbey was inhabited by Premonstratensian canons, monks for whom the values of charity, welcome and hospitality were at the heart of their way of life. Many pilgrims were able to find refuge in Leffe Abbey.

Then in 1240, the canons decided to build a brewery in order to serve a healthy and refreshing beverage.

In addition to offering a better welcome to pilgrims, the brewery was also a response to health problems. In the Middle Ages, the lack of means to check the cleanliness of the water could not ensure that it was drinkable. This was not the case with beer because the fermentation stage of beer production involves boiling the water to convert glucose into alcohol. This process killed off all microbes, making beer a safe drink. This greatly reduced the risk of contamination despite plague and typhus epidemics.

Like the Cistercian monks, the Premonstratensians were just as hard-working and skilled with their hands at work in the fields and on the farms. One of the Leffe Fathers took over the administration and care of the Leffe brewery. Very quickly, the beers brewed were successful and the growing needs necessitated the moving of the mill and brewery to the Leffe Abbey grounds. This is how the brewing tradition of Leffe began.

The revival of a brewing tradition

Closed due to various events during the Revolution, the Abbey nevertheless rose from its ashes in 1929. The brewery and its know-how seemed to be definitively lost, but in 1952 it began to be revived in its turn.

That same year, Abbot Nys visited Albert Lootvoet, brewer in Overijse, to tell him about the financial difficulties the Abbey was experiencing. The solution was obvious: the Leffe brewery had to be restarted. With the help of Albert Lootvoet, the Leffe Abbey succeeded in reviving the Leffe brewing tradition and its carefully guarded recipe, while respecting the processes of the past. Leffe Brune was thus able to be brewed again and its success has lasted through the ages. It won the hearts of 20th century beer lovers to such an extent that the brewing of a whole range of Leffe beers followed.

They were so successful that very soon the output was no longer sufficient to meet the growing demand of Leffe beer lovers. In the 1970s, the Leffe brewery received significant investment and financial support from other breweries, which merged together some time later to form the Interbrew brewery (the origin of AB inBev). Even today, the 1240 brewing tradition of the Leffe Brewery continues to satisfy beer lovers around the world.

As a result, the Leffe Brewery has become one of the most renowned Belgian breweries in the world today. Thanks to its unavoidable recipes such as Leffe Blonde, Leffe Ruby or Leffe Rituel 9° (which you can find in bottles or in kegs), its ancestral know-how is now anchored in history.

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