Eindhoven: Club Craft

Officially since March this year there is something new in Eindhoven: Club Craft. But the attentive reader has probably already heard this name before with the Club Craft: The Dark Arts festival or the more intimate Club nights that have been organized under the same name since the beginning of 2022. Club Craft is the latest project by Casper Pennings, known as the orginal Bierbrigadier, with a beer shop with the same name in Eindhoven and the successful Bier & Big beer festivals.

 Ever since June 2015 you could find the specialty beer shop De Bierbrigadier in the center of Eindhoven, in the quirky Bergstraat. Not much later shops under the same name were also opened in Tilburg by Koen Gijsbers and Nijmegen by Aniek van Zutphen. But after 7.5 years it was time for something new for Casper. De Bierbrigadier in the center of Eindhoven therefore closed it doors for the last time in February this year and will now continue as a webshop. Still with a collection desk (open on Saturdays) at Sectie-C, one of the former Philips sites that have been converted into a lively environment for artistic entrepreneurs. And don’t worry, the shops in Tilburg and Nijmegen will continue to exist.

And in the same place on Sectie-C you will now also find Club Craft, or in full: Club Craft Beer Atelier.

  • Campagnes for Craft beer
  • Works for and with breweries
  • Organizes beer events
  • Connects through beer

 The idea for Club Craft arose from all the activities that Casper already did in addition to De Bierbrigadier and the Bier & Big festivals. The aim is that Club Craft will be a platform for all kinds of projects and activities related to the promotion of craft beer and it is mainly intended to facilitate and bring people together around the theme of craft beer. He wants to give events and festivals organized by Club Craft a more educational touch, on a smaller scale and with in-depth information, rather than as an opportunity to taste as many beers as possible from all over the world in the shortest possible time. The website will also be filled with more in-depth information, in the form of stories by guest writers, videos of brewery visits and visits to beer cities, and more. He wants brewers to be able to tell their story through both the activities and the website; offering the brewers a stage, literally and figuratively.

The need to provide these forms of information and education is more or less born out of Casper’s frustration that the consumer knows and cares so little about what is happening in the craft beer world and he wants to change that by working together with craft beer brewers to give more insight into what craft beer is.

In other words, with the Club Craft Beer Atelier, Casper is going to do everything he likes to do in the beer world. Some global ideas for activities are beer tastings and educational courses, information evenings with brewers, activities with home brewers, but also club nights and more intimate festivals in and around Eindhoven around a specific theme. Club Craft: The Dark Arts was the first edition of such a festival.

The Bier & Big festival will also continue to exist, in its current form, but will remain under the banner of De Bierbrigadier. And the next Bier & Big is this weekend at Section-C!

Club Craft is therefore no longer a shop, but more of a creative workplace for Casper to develop all his ideas. During the week it is actually more of an office, although you can still come in at set times to pick up your order from De Bierbrigadier or (at this moment) try to set a highscore on the free pinball machine he has on loan at the moment.

 Club Craft will foremost be a platform for the craft beer world, with Casper using a clear definition for himself of what craft beer is.

For one, the brewer must actually (be able to) brew the beer himself, whether in their own brewery or at another. The brewer must be independent of a large brewery and above all the brewer must do and be able to do what they want. The brewer is therefore not just an employee, but determines what happens in the brewery. A brewery where the brewer decides and not the marketing department. A brewer who draws their own plan and is not guided by Untappd or Beer Geeks.

In addition, Casper also prefers a brewer who holds themself accountable and opens themself up to the beer market. A brewer who really does it for the beer and who also radiates this passion for beer. In addition, the human aspect is also very important: breweries with a good and sincere story. Casper has already built his network according to these principles. He wants to stand for these people, he wants to sell their beer. Basically, he’s looking for something comparable to the average American bear community, where it is not only about growth and economic difficulties, but above all about beer.

 Club Craft’s first major festival was therefore Club Craft: The Dark Arts on February 4, 2023. Before that, Casper had already organized club days under the name of Club Craft at OST, which can also be found on Sectie-C. During the club days, 3 brewers/makers were invited for interviews and tastings for a select audience.

Where Beer and Big is more for everyone, Club Craft: The Dark Arts was brought back to the essence, to the beer part of a beer festival: Real and sincere attention for the brewers and their beers. Back to the why Casper once started in beer and what he is passionate about. A small-scale festival with twelve special breweries, all of which released an exclusive beer for this occasion, in the theme of The Dark Arts, a festival especially for dark beers in a dark time of the year. For Casper back to what matters, and for him that is not the largest possible attendance, the largest possible line-up and the most trendy beers of the moment, but attention to the select twelve breweries and their twelve beers and thus quality over quantity. This was also reflected in the location of het Klokgebouw and the small amount of tickets available for the festival.

In the next months, Casper will further develop and roll out his plan step-by-step. The common theme in this is that he wants to tell the story of craft beer, the story of the craft beer brewers and everything that goes with it full time. His goal is for consumers to think more about what they buy, who they buy from, where it comes from and what is the story behind it. Although he has now left the center of Eindhoven, He is still a part of Eindhoven and Casper still sees a nice beer scene with nice people, but unfortunately little cohesion. It is also a pity that Eindhoven seems to be standing still, where the beer world seems to be much more dynamic in the other major cities of the Netherlands. Everyone is mainly doing their own thing, but Casper would like to change that. In any case, several collaborations are already planned for the future. Of course with OST, with who, among other things, a beer dinner is planned. The club days will also continue and of course there will be a sequel to The Dark Arts.

Want to know what else is about to happen? Take a quick look at the Club Craft website! And are you a brewer or otherwise active in the beer world and do you have a great idea for an event? Who knows, maybe Casper can help you with that!

What would you like to see from Club Craft?

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