A moment with the Van Roy family

It's undeniable, Cantillon is at the rank of the most mythical breweries.

It makes it dream of more than one, many are those who have pushed its doors to go unravel a little mystery, see what is going on in this lair, taste new or adored cuvées.

We are fortunate to work with The Van Roy family, but also to count it among our friends.

During our last visit last April, we took the time to chat with Jean and Florian, the father and the son; which represent the 4th and 5th generation. We talked about beer ... but not only!

Florian and Jean Van Roy
Florian and Jean Van Roy

Very attached to family moments, they are also football enthusiasts, and of course, good food!

To know a little more behind the scenes of this mythical brewery, we have transcribed in this article the best of our exchanges. Go ahead, read! It’s like you've spent this moment with us.


It was on Tuesday morning, the alarm clock was somewhat confused after a finished evening in the cellar of Brigittines in the company of chief Dirk Myny but also of Jean, patron of the famous bar Moeder Lambivs.

Jean and Florian receive us at the brasserie and lead a lambic to the Cinsault. The atmosphere is there, the warm welcome, the fluid discussion.

Julien: How did the brewing season go this year? (For info, the lambic can only be brewed in a cold period).

Jean: The brewing season ended at the end of March. If we had known that Advril would be so cold, we would have stirred a little more. We made 46 brassins this year.

Florian: We made our first brewing on November 15, we got a little delay so it charged.

This first exchange made us think directly of an omnipresent subject these days: warming and climatic hazards. We had the subject somewhere in the lead, is the world of Lambic also concerned? We asked the question.

Adrien: Do you feel that there are challenges to take up because of these climatic hazards?

Florian: Climate change impacts us directly, we are dependent on the weather to brew and with less and less cold winters, it could become complicated. This winter for example, we had 17 degrees at the end of December! We were lucky, it was during the week between Christmas and New Years, so no brewing. And then early April, we had temperatures close to 0, it is true that it becomes unpredictable.

Julien: And overall, other challenges to take up? With an outside look, the attraction for Cantillon seems to be at its peak!

Florian: Honestly, for us it's true that the attraction is there! We are fortunate to always have a very strong demand. But we feel that it is a bit morose in certain lamberie, and even overall in the world of micro-breweries. We have mixed echoes from our colleagues, but it’s not catastrophic either.

Jean: I also believe that overall, there has been a price for prices, it plays. We have never left for this in mind, we have always been careful at our prices.

Florian: Purchasing power has decreased for everyone, it is undeniable. Everyone is a little more attention, we have to make choices. But it should all be regulated.

Adrien: You seem in tune in your ideas. John, among the values ​​transmitted by your father, who have you selected and what do you want to transmit to Florian?

Jean: Continue to remain faithful to our product and bring this passion to life. Respect their consumer, continuing to offer bottles at affordable prices, which is a real choice on our part. We have customers who came to get their gueuz 20 years ago, we cannot tell them that today it is 5 times more expensive. We have family values. The wheel can turn, today we are at the top, 20 years ago we were not there. We must not forget where we come from, we do not know where we will be in 10/15 years. And we never stay at the Ad Vitam Aeternam top.

Adrien: Apart from beer, it seems that you like football! You participated in the trips of the Union Saint-Gilloise (Brussels football club) In the European Cup this year?

Florian: Yes we made them all! We stopped in the quarter, opposite Bayer Leverkusen, a German team. We experienced great trips in Europe, we who had never experienced this.

Jean: We were a bit of a little thumb but we came out of hen brilliantly, in mind! We had great moments, no one could have imagined that.

Julien: The union is a passion that also animates your father Jean?

Jean: Yes, my father, my grandfather and even my great-grandfather, which I have never known. This too is a family story with us. I was going to the match on Sunday, a few times with my grandfather who came to get me after family meals in his Green Opel Vectra. My father had dropped the club a little when they were descended, now he came back to see them.

Florian: We always have a lot of family meals, it allows us to live these kinds of moments. It is the most important.


Julien: Are there divergences between you both as for your vision of the company?

Florian: In general, we are fortunate to be rather on the same wavelength. If, I like everything to be stored and in its place, but frankly it was secondary.

Julien: And the team you work with?

Florian: It's going very well, we have a good team.

Jean: Counting the office is 10, and the atmosphere is good. We also regularly welcome trainees for brewing periods.

Florian: It’s nice to have people on internship because we also learn from their cultures, these are great meetings.

Jean: We have a lot of Quebecers who come to train for example. And we still have news of them long after, some send us their first brassins.

Florian: And our employees have been there for quite a few years, 5, 10, even 15 years so we tell ourselves that it is a good atmosphere. And then there is Berto (the manager of the bar, among others)! He could say that he was born in the brewery (laughter).

Bertho, behind the Brasserie counter

Julien: Can you tell us about these 2/3 trainees who set up their brewery?

Florian: There is Maxime, who is Quebecer who sent us his first spontaneous. And you must know Aymeric, of the Brasserie Levain, that we appreciate very much and which is very promising. Doug, who created Blind Enthusiam In Edmonton in Canada, spontaneous beers.

Jean: Doug created his modern brewery like the Cantillon brewery. He is a person who has knowledge in exceptional beer. One of the best trainees we had, he knew everything.

Florian: He often comes back, he would see himself well here. We have lots of trainees who fall in love with the city. And who ask us to think of them if posts are released at the brewery.

Julien: It's great, because frankly, it's not easy to recruit at the moment.

Jean: It is true that it is not simple, that said, we went to 4 days/week, it's cool for guys. Most of them take their on Monday or Friday. We have a business that turns well, and it is thanks to the team, so we are happy to be able to offer that.

Florian: It works very well. We are much more effective over 4 days I think.

Jean: Florent Ladeyn too, for example, went on 4 -day week, and he had no trouble recruiting.

Adrien: We want to know your good plans too! We ate at Calmos yesterday, what are your good addresses in Brussels?

Jean: In front of Calmos Precisely there is a very good address called Flamme, which has some cantillon à la carte, it's very good. Le Damoiselle, but also Modern Alchimist To drink a cocktail and then Liesse.

Brussels moves excessively well. There are also more addresses in the center, our friends from La Fruitière, which make beers and cheese associations. Yi Chan, for Chinese cuisine, and you can find cantillon there, Nénu For Vietnamese cuisine, I love their cuisine and they will also have our beers soon. Having a lambic on this kitchen there is very very good! We can also cite La Bonne Chère and of course Les Brigittines.

Julien: You haven't cited Les Petits Bouchons ?

Florian: This is apart! It remains my favorite place in Brussels.

Jean: And there will soon be another!

Florian: Ah yes, and then my girlfriend will open a small boutique de grocery defenu-focacceria, Mangia Sempre, she will soon have the keys. It will be located near the Union stadium (Since then, the place has opened its doors).

Adrien: Is there an ingredient, a dish, with whom you love drinking a gueuze?

Florian: My grandfather taught me to appreciate the gueuze at the end of a meal. But if you had to associate a dish, I would say something comforting, simmered, for example a sauerkraut.

Jean: It works very well with the simmered dishes indeed, the Gueuze makes digestible. It works well with a good oily cold meats, or strong cheeses like the Belgian Herve cheese too. And one of the perfect weddings that enhances the two products, I would say that it is seafood and particularly smoked fish.

Adrien: Are there cities or culinary destinations that drive you and inspire you?

Florian: Before being with my girlfriend Giulia who is Italian, I had already fallen in love with this land, of this culture. I had a good food education and the respect they have for food fascinates me. And then of course France, because we went there every year on vacation when I was little, it is a land Magnificent.

Jean: Similarly ! It is not for nothing that Italy was one of the first land Europeans to import our beers. It's a land extraordinary. Eat badly in Italy, you have to want it!

Florian: There is really this simplicity side. My girlfriend made me discover the Pepper Oil Pasta ("Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino ), It is a typical dish of Italy, simple but so wonderful. They just have a few ingredients to magnify.

Jean: Recently took a simple mortadelle part in Bologna, it was delicious. There was a tail before that opens, already almost 100 people!

Adrien: What if we come back to Belgium, is there a specialty that you like to eat particularly?

Florian: Our mortadelle panini to us is a bit of the pickly chopped pistol.

Jean: The pork chop is raw, which is quite rare. You need excellent meat. The fat of the meat is cut by the acidity of the pickles. And then of course we have a specialty that we love, these are shrimp kibbles.

Julien: Ah! Croquettes we love it too, and go tell us, where can we eat the best?

Florian: It depends on everyone's tastes but we can cite our friends from Fernand Obb, those from Tom to Petits Bouchons or those of Dirk to Les Brigittines.

Jean: Dirk makes his shrimp kibbles at the Gueuze. He never participated in the competition of the best cribs with shrimps in Brussels, and for some members of the jury, as long as Dirk has not taken part in the contest, we will never know exactly who does the best shrimp kibble.

Adrien: How do you choose the ingredients you put forward each year in the beer Zwanze* ?

Jean: It is often a competition of circumstances, meetings. For example for pepper, it was during a pepper tasting organized at La Fruitière that the idea came to me. For the 2018 Zwanze, we had recovered barrels from Chianti, Amarone, and San Giovese, we had an exceptional product from this assembly and we did not think any longer. It is very important to keep an opening, to be curious, on all types of foods and all types of drink. This is where our inspiration comes from.

Florian: For me when you are interested in the right drink, you are automatically interested in what you eat too. It’s a global culture.

*Created in 2011 and now organized every other year in the spring, the Zwanze Day is a global event for which the Cantillon brewery brews an experimental beer in limited quantities, offered for sale in a limited number of establishments around the world.

Julien: This is also the case in the world of natural wine. Besides, if we talk about wine, what are your tastes: if you had to choose a grape, a region and a winemaker?

Florian: I like things well done, easy to drink and not too strong in alcohol. I am a gamay fan, light, fruity little reds, rather in Beaujolais.

Jean: I join Flo but I will choose Pinot Noir. I like it when it pins, and there are superb pinots in Alsace. I think about Catherine Riss For example, she does incredible things. And if I have to choose a winegrower, I love what does what does Stéphane Tissot, not only for what he does but also for the person he is. When you drink a wine or a beer, you drink your glass differently when you know the person behind it. I could quote other people, many beautiful people. We are fortunate to work with lots of super nice winegrowers.

Florian: For my part if I have to quote a winemaker I would say Louis Maurer that I met in Alsace. We are well marked, he is young and he makes great wines! A beautiful meeting.

Jean: We will start to rotate on the grapes, we have experienced a lot, we worked lots of grape varieties but here we want other things. The world of wine and beer are extraordinary, we can bind them and we did it. We worked on the marcs, the musts, the barrels, ... Today we want to go also to other things.

Julien: Grape beers are still a good idea! Besides, the Saint Lamv 22 is mind -blowing! It tastes really well, real sweetness.

Jean: Ah yes, we will clearly be forced to continue the assemblies with Grenache (the 2022 comes from an assembly of Merlot, Grenache and Syrah). I am very happy with the Sang Bleu also this year.


Adrien: who is the most zwanzeur (understand a party) in the family ?

Jean: For my age I am still not bad but I would say that it is you now (it is aimed in Florian)!

Florian: If we stay in the family, with the little cousins ​​the next generation is assured!

Adrien: A word to qualify the Brussels night?

Jean: Beer (laughter) !

Florian: Brussels is a big city but it is said that it is also a small village, you often come across people you know, it's pleasant and I don't see myself leaving it.

Jean: I would say mysterious. If a person arrives here, he does not know which doors he should open, he will think that it is boring. But if you push the right doors, you will find yourself closing the restaurant, curtain fired, drinking good bottles and spending super moments.

Julien: We see it quickly, here there is a lot of conviviality, people speak easily.

Florian: We can consider ourselves as quite welcoming, it's true, especially on the south side. Among the Flemings, you have to know a little more. The city is a bit cut in half by the canal.

Jean: We don't know the northern part!

It was a friendly moment, a discussion that took place with ease. It emerges from this exchange that we appreciate the right products all the more when they are made by beautiful people that we have the chance to rub shoulders.

Undeniably, this is the case for the Van Roy family. Humility and talent have made their job. Today, Cantillon is essential, but that is not due to chance.

Discover all Cantillon beers available on Buvance.