De Kluis (Brewery) is a brewery in the Belgian town of Hoegaarden, east of Brussels. It was founded in 1966 by Pierre Celis, a local milkman, in hopes of reviving the white beer, or witbier, style.
Celis set up his original 25-hl (21-US bbl) brewhouse in a barn across from his home. He named it Brewery Celis, but in 1978 renamed it Brewery De Kluis, Flemish for “The Cloister.” In the first year of production, the brewery produced 350 hl (298 US bbl) of beer. As the beer’s popularity increased, a larger production facility was needed. In 1979, Celis purchased a former distillery and lemonade factory and set up a brewery with a 100-hl (85-US bbl) kettle.
By 1985, annual production of Hoegaarden had increased to 300,000 hl (255,650 US bbl). That year, there was a devastating fire at the brewery. Insurance covered only a fraction of the rebuilding costs. Additional funds were procured from brewing giant Interbrew (now Anheuser-Busch InBev), who acquired partial ownership of the business. Celis had a strained relationship with Interbrew and in 1990 divested his share of the company.
In 2005, the corporate ownership announced its intention to close the brewery the following year and move production to its larger facility in Jupille, 70 miles away. This met with passionate protests in the town of Hoegaarden and the move was never completed. Today, tourists can visit the brewery’s Visitors Center and Kouterhof cafe.