Ambition

We want the world to enjoy our beers, we want to offer our customers good malts and we want to offer our consumers the right beer at the right time. That was and remains our ambition. Even a pandemic doesn’t change that. It has proven to be an advantage that we are active in so many countries, markets and segments, thereby spreading risks. By making adjustments where needed, we managed to continue to reach our customers and consumers. Due to cost management we can report good financial figures for 2021, despite the challenging circumstances. By actively managing the working capital, we were also able to further strengthen the company’s capital position. As a result, our growth strategy has remained intact. Swinkels Family Brewers is financially sound and we will continue to pursue our ambition unabated: To pass on our family business in an even better state to future generations.

Results 2021

Turnover 2021

€ 835.5

million

Turnover 2020

€ 773.2

million

In both the retail and on-trade sectors, turn­over increased compared to “lockdown year” 2020.

Although 2021 was another year filled with challenging circumstances, such as COVID-19, political unrest in Ethiopia and global price increases, the financial results were considerably higher than the previous year. Compared to 2020, our revenue increased by 8% to EUR 835.5 million.

Turnover was able to increase as the beer market partially recovered. In both the retail and on-trade sectors, turn­over increased compared to “lockdown year” 2020. Holland Malt’s turnover also showed growth as a result of a well-filled order book and higher barley prices. As a result of the turnover growth, the focus on our strategic brands and the progress of implemented cost measures, EBITDA increased by no less than 26 percent, from EUR 70.0 million in 2020 to EUR 88.2 million in 2021.

  • Results per division
    Results per division
  • Results per division

    Swinkels Family Brewers

    With a growth in turnover, the beer division showed a strong recovery after the exceptionally difficult year 2020. Moreover, this growth is widely supported; all business units within the division are showing better results than in the previous year.

    Export performed extremely well. The Middle East and Africa in particular are showing substantial growth, mainly due to 0.0% and malt.

    Belgium and the Netherlands are showing a nice recovery compared to the previous year. The results, however, are still under pressure due to the on-trade shutdowns and long-term restriction of opening hours. On-trade establishments in Belgium and the Netherlands were closed at the beginning of 2021 due to COVID-19 lockdowns. By the end of 2021, on-trade establishments in the Netherlands were required to close again while those in Belgium were required to close earlier. The loss of revenue in the on-trade sector due to the (partial) lockdowns was compensated for during the period the on-trade establishments were open, ultimately resulting in a higher turnover than in 2020. Dutch on-trade entrepreneurs who rent premises from our company, have continued to receive our support in 2021 by means of rent reductions and payment arrangements, again reducing rental income compared to before.

    Retail turnover also increased compared to the previous year. Countries where we sell mainly via the retail sector, such as Italy and France, performed better than budget.

    Holland Malt
    Despite COVID-19, the malt division is again showing great figures as the result increased substantially compared to 2020. A consequence of volume growth, but also of price development in the market.

    Habesha
    As a result of the armed conflict, we were unable to sell our beer in a number of Ethiopian regions. However, despite all the unrest Habesha produced bigger volumes than the previous year, while profitability held up well thanks to cost savings. An achievement to be proud of. Due to the devaluation of the local currency (birr), however, the net turnover converted into euros was unfortunately lower.

  • Changes in the organisation
    Changes in the organisation
  • Changes in the organisation

    Two company-wide, multi-year and internal programmes continued to drive organisational change in 2021 as well.

    “Design-the-base” is a reorganisation programme that provides the company with an optimal foundation for future growth. A provision of EUR 3.9 million was formed in 2020 for the total programme in order to be able to finance a social plan and severance pay in the coming years. This provision was partially used according to schedule in 2021. 

    Intelligent Brewery is a digital transformation programme aimed at creating a harmonised digital platform, with uniform data collection, better information and analysis skills, and workstream optimisation. In 2021, the corresponding investment amounted to EUR 15.8 million. We will continue to invest in this in the years to come.

  • Liquidity
    Liquidity
  • Liquidity

    In 2021, we again paid close attention to our working capital. We have done this by collecting outstanding amounts from customers in a timely manner and by entering into new payment agreements with suppliers. Stocks have been reduced where possible. We have further expanded our supplier finance programmes with selected suppliers. At Holland Malt, we have included more customers in our receivables finance programme. As a result of the focus on working capital, the working capital decreased substantially compared to the end of 2020. The liquidity ratio is 0.89 (2020: 1.04).

    This enabled us to pay off our entire debt to credit institutions as well as our deferred payment obligations in 2021. As a result, the company no longer has any debts to credit institutions in the Netherlands at the balance sheet date. 

  • Cash flow
    Cash flow
  • Cash flow

    The net cash flow of the company was negative (EUR 12.3 million). The incoming cash flows from operating activities (EUR 140.1 million) were used for investment activities (EUR 91.1 million) and financing activities (EUR 61.3 million).

    The net cash flow for 2021 was negative, mainly as a result of three developments:

    • The incoming cash flow from operating activities was higher than the previous year due to a higher turnover and the focus on working capital management.
    • The outgoing cash flow from investment activities was higher than in 2020 due to investments such as the Intelligent Brewery and the acquisition of group companies.
    • The outgoing cash flow from financing activities was lower than the previous year due to lower repayments of debts to credit institutions.
  • Taxes
    Taxes
  • Taxes

    As a family business, we feel a social responsibility to contribute our fair share to society through taxation.
    We strive for a transparent relationship with the tax authorities at home and abroad.

    All internal transfer prices of Swinkels Family Brewers are at arm’s length and adequately documented on the basis of the transfer pricing principles established by the OECD*. In addition, we endorse, among other things, the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) programme. Swinkels Family Brewers is committed to paying the right amount of taxes at the right place and the right time. The tax policy can also be found on our website: The tax policy

    The applicable weighted average tax rate is 25.9% (2020: 24.6%), whereby the weighted average tax rate has been calculated based on results before taxes in the various tax jurisdictions. The tax charge in the profit and loss account for 2021 amounts to EUR 9.706 thousand, or 26.1% of the result before taxes (2020: 26.4%).

    * Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. 

    In 2021, we paid EUR 0.7 million in corporation tax, EUR 132.2 million in excise duties and EUR 73.6 million in
    other taxes.

    Other taxes amount to EUR 41.9 million from VAT, EUR 31.0 million from payroll taxes and social security charges and EUR 1.7 million from other taxes.

Results by region

Sales distribution around the world in 2021
Figure: Sales distribution around the world in 2021
Project story

Welcome to the family:
Uiltje Brewing Company,
passion in a can


Having guts is characteristic
of the family.
And stagnation is regression.

Thijs Thijssen,
General Manager
Craft business unit
Robbert Uyleman,
Creative Director
Uiltje Brewing Company
Ruben Korthuis,
General Manager
Uiltje Brewing Company

A takeover during a pandemic? It would have required a lot of trust. Which was, indeed, the case. ‘Uiltje Brewing Company is an innovative brand with a lot of potential,’ says Thijs Thijssen, General Manager of the Craft business unit.

‘The COVID-19 crisis didn’t present our company with a reason to abandon our growth strategy,’ explains Thijssen regarding the acquisition. ‘Having guts is characteristic of the family. And stagnation is regression.’ Uiltje Brewing Company was at a crossroads; their maximum brewing capacity was coming into view. ‘The COVID-19 crisis gave us reason to focus directly on consumers. As a result, we had our best year ever,’ explains General Manager Ruben Korthuis. ‘Additional brewing capacity required a new investment. Fact is, that when you grow the world becomes more complex. Your network becomes increasingly important and access to the market more difficult. Joining a brewer with over 300 years of experience proved to have many advantages. We deliberately chose a family business, because that’s how we actually feel about ourselves.’ ‘Uiltje is a fresh, innovative brand with lots of potential, good figures and great beers. A great match with Swinkels Family Brewers,’ confirms Thijs Thijssen.

F*cking great beer in a can

Robbert Uyleman began brewing India Pale Ale (IPA), extra hoppy beer, in 2012: ‘IPAs are so unique and were barely available here at the time.’ By now, Uiltje sells 300(!) different beers and about seventy more are added each year. All with a unique recipe, most of them once-only. A quote from the refreshing mission: “to create f*cking great beer” a weizen with a hint of pineapple and a blonde with a hint of limoncello are brewed in addition to IPAs. And heavy beers with up to 21 percent alcohol. Common denominator? ‘Freshness, hops and a can,’ says Uyleman, Creative Director of ‘t Uiltje. ‘When canned, the freshness of our beer comes out best.’

Healthy growth

Uyleman: ‘We are super proud to be one of the only two Dutch breweries in the RateBeer top 100 together with De Molen. We want to get even better than we already are. In doing so, we will continue to focus on the creative aspect, on making innovative beers and establishing beautiful concepts inspired by our passion.’ Korthuis: ‘We are as agile as a speedboat and find that Swinkels is a good fit for that. Standing in the shade of such a large umbrella will help us grow in a healthy and steady manner so that we can scale up and continue to meet demand.’

CHALLENGE

How do you ensure availability
during a pandemic?

COVID-19 has a major impact on the economy worldwide, including in 2021. Production capacity and availability of raw materials and semifinished products are under pressure. This translates into (substantially) increasing prices and delivery time issues. How do you ensure that business operations are not affected by this, so that consumers can continue to enjoy their (non-alcoholic) beers?

As the pandemic entered its second year in 2021, we began to see its effects on the global economy well. A wide range of factors came into play. Deferral of investments, lack of labour capacity, closure of major world ports (in China and elsewhere) and disruptions in supply chains. Products and raw materials about which we did not have to worry before suddenly showed large differences in supply and demand.

Increase in prices and delivery times

The imbalance in the world market leads to price increases. For example, container prices increased tenfold in 2021, timber prices quadrupled, and energy prices rose greatly at the end of the year. We too were forced to make price adjustments. Another challenge proved to be the delivery time of raw materials and semifinished products. Where previously we could assume a delivery time of a few weeks, it was now, at times, several months. It was this uncertainty that made companies decide to build up large stocks. As the capacity in the market is not designed for this, it resulted in disruptions and price increases. 

We were confronted with the effects of the disruptions in, for example, the procurement of barley, wood and cardboard. There was also a huge increase in demand for metal. Consumers who couldn’t access the on-trade establishments for a long time were buying more canned beer in the supermarket. One of our suppliers suffered a “ransomware” attack and lost insight into his stock and deliveries.

Thanks to the great efforts of our procurement team, we were able to meet the challenges. It became increasingly clear in 2021 how essential suppliers and partners are that you can count on. Contracts are indispensable, but it was precisely this good relationship that often allowed us to reach solutions together. 

Circular procurement

Despite the challenges in the availability of raw materials, we also prioritised our circular procurement goals.
In 2022 – with the support of the data from the Intelligent Brewery – we will put even more effort into anticipating procurement and smart stock control. And we will continue to invest in and collaborate with our partners. 

Project stories

  • Several projects and investments contribute to the growth achieved
    in 2021. Read more about some of these projects here.
  • Project story
    200 years of Rodenbach: 137 awards
  • Project story

    200 years of Rodenbach: 137 awards

    In 1821, the Rodenbach family brewed its first beer. They allowed it to mature in the legendary oak foeders (casks).
    In 2021, we celebrated the 200-year anniversary, despite the restrictions in place due to COVID-19. The highlight being the creation of an anniversary beer: Rodenbach Red Tripel. The brewmasters pulled out all the stops in the art of brewing, showing how alive this 200-year-old Flemish company still is.

    It was Amalia Rodenbach and her brothers Alexander, Pedro and Ferdinand Gregoor who christened their brand new brewery two hundred years ago. Today, oak-aged Flemish reddish-brown beers are part of Belgium’s liquid heritage. They are classics that are praised at home and abroad for their unique taste. ‘We are the stewards of a historic production process,’ says Rodenbach General Manager Rudi Ghequire. ‘Due in part to its geographical location and unique tradition of maturing in 294 legendary oak casks, the beer has a special acidity, similar to that of wine.’ Over 137 awards, won at leading beer competitions, confirm this special quality.

    We are writing history

    The richly illustrated anniversary book “History poured in a bottle, history written in a bottle” was published in June. In it we learn about the Rodenbachs as a lineage of brewers, soldiers, poets, entrepreneurs, revolutionaries and politicians. A lineage that even played a role in the establishment of Belgium as a country. The reader is taken on a tour of the secrets of Flemish red-brown beer and its culinary possibilities. For example, chef Tim Boury of the Roeselare two-star restaurant Boury presents a three-course menu accompanied by the Rodenbach beers. In addition, ten chefs use it to turn a classic recipe into one of their own.

    Knighted

    The brewery in Roeselare was the stage of the Festival of King Gambrinus and the Belgian Brewers’ Knighthood of the Brewers’ Mash Staff at the end of October. In the centuries-old cask cellars, Pieter and Gijs Swinkels and Eric Meersman, all three employed by Royal Swinkels Family Brewers, were knighted for their positive contribution to Belgian Beer.

    Rodenbach RedTripel

    Developing a high-alcohol beer while retaining Rodenbach’s individuality was the crowning achievement of the anniversary year. Rudi: ‘The mildly acidic freshness, so characteristic of our beers, makes for a refreshingly complex and well-drinkable Rodenbach tripel.’

    Celebratory releases

    “History poured in a bottle, history written in a bottle” is (also available in French and English) for sale at www.S-HOP.be. The book was published in June and December of the anniversary year and presented in a special celebration box.

    Rodenbach Red Tripel (8.2 vol % alc.), bottled in a black-coated 75 cl champagne bottle, is still available in the on-trade, in specialty beer stores and in some supermarkets.

  • Project story
    The Intelligent Brewery gets ready for take-off
  • Project story

    The Intelligent Brewery gets ready for take-off

    Smart, data-driven work

    Our company is growing rapidly. We work in more and more locations and with more and more partners and suppliers, which calls for unambiguous agreements and measurable processes. An intelligent brewery collects, combines and analyses data to operate more efficiently and effectively. Consider, for example, data from the procurement process (tenders, contracts, orders, goods receipt, planning and invoices). Or data from our smart machines on maintenance.

    An intelligent brewery also means that everyone works in the same way. Fixed processes ensure greater effectiveness and usable data. Data is indispensable to deliver on our consumer promise: “A suitable beer for each and every occasion”.

    Building the Intelligent Brewery requires a lot of time and energy from the entire organisation. We have been working on it for years with heart and soul.

    Results 2021

    Again, the past year was primarily a year of building for the Intelligent Brewery. We have again taken several steps towards the realisation of the intelligent brewery we envision. At the end of 2021, Opcenter went live, the part of the system containing all product data and specifications. In addition, our HR colleagues switched to SuccessFactors which resulted in a different way of working.

    To be ready for future-maintenance, we’ve moved to a new system for maintenance. This concerns the maintenance of (brewing) installations at our production locations, such as Roeselare and Steenhuffel, but also tap technology, service and maintenance for the on-trade sector and events.

    Substantial preparations have already been made for this in 2021. A total of 100 colleagues will work in a different way. Joost Jonker, Maintenance Manager: ‘We are moving to a new SAP system. Point of departure here is for maintenance to be organised in the same way at all production locations. By standardising the maintenance processes, we can better support each other in the future and take technology to the next level together. In addition, it brings predictive maintenance within our reach. Based on data from our own machines, we know where failures are likely to occur. In this way we can intervene proactively.’

    The Intelligent Brewery is scheduled to go live for location Lieshout in 2022. Location Lieshout will then switch completely to the new central platform. A milestone. At that point, everyone will be working in the same way and the quality of information will have increased significantly. The result being a tremendous simplification in the business.

    Looking ahead: Direct impact on performance

    After 2022, the Intelligent Brewery will also be rolled out at all other locations. We will then be able to better leverage the scale in our business with worldwide exchangeable information. Our service to our (on-trade) customers worldwide will then be even more professional and supported by digital solutions. Digital dashboards will provide up-to-the-minute visibility at any time. This will have a positive effect on the performance of our company. We can then best meet the challenges that lie ahead, whether in production, procurement, packaging, sales or any other crucial theme. The Intelligent Brewery is a learning system, which means the benefits will only increase in 2022 and beyond.

  • Project story
    Online channel is maturing
  • Project story

    Online channel is maturing

    The rapid growth of our online channel continued in 2021. The closing of the on-trade sector, as a result of COVID-19, directly contributed to this. E-commerce is “here to stay” for other reasons as well; it has become a social trend for consumers to order more beverages online and more often. We have responded to this by further professionalising and expanding our online offerings. The “third” channel has matured and now covers a significant proportion of our total sales.

    Available online for consumers

    It’s impossible to imagine the online landscape today without our presence. In 2021, we established the following websites and web shops for consumers:

    • We realised a new UK webshop for all brands available in the UK [CraftedBier – Buy Craft Beer Online, Craft Beer Free UK Delivery]
    • For our Bavaria Malt Drinks, malt-based non-alcoholic drinks and especially popular in the Middle East and Africa, we realised a website with information in English, French and Arabic; website Bavaria Malt Drinks.
    • Hollandia, the lager whose popularity continues to rise especially in countries outside the Netherlands, got its own website in 2021.
    • In 2021, we also developed websites for three of our Belgian brands: Estaminet, Rodenbach and Cornet. This is where consumers will find information about the beers and the brewing process.
    • The webshop for all our brands available in Belgium, S-hop.be, grew significantly.
    • Several of our breweries now have their own webshops, such as brewery de Molen and Uiltje Brewing Company.
    • We also have a prominent online presence through major retailers, such as on ah.nl and jumbo.nl. We expanded and optimised our online visibility here in 2021, which is reflected in the results. Overall retail online turnover grew considerably, partly as a result of COVID-19. Our results manage to exceed that growth rate.
    • The same goes for platforms of pure players such as Picnic and Crisp, and our presence on online marketplaces such as Amazon.
    • We are also represented in the offerings of flash delivery companies such as Getir, Flink and Gorillas.
    • As well as in beer shops, such as Beerwulf, Beer52, Flavourly and BeerHawk, and on gift platforms such as Greetz.
    • In 2021, we opened a new Dutch webshop for our portfolio of specialty beers and craft soft drinks; daretodrinkdifferent.nl.
    New: Dare to Drink Different

    With Dare to Drink Different (DtDD), we launched a platform for consumers and the on-trade sector in 2021 that focuses on flavour. The name says it all; it challenges customers and consumers to discover new brands and also try craft beers. We do this by sharing plenty of information about the different beer styles via this new platform and making sample boxes available that contain different beers.

    DtDD is a cross-channel platform that will become a landmark in the on-trade sector, online, in the super­market and at events. In the on-trade sector, for example, Dare to Drink Different presents the ever changing tap line-up. This tap with multiple specialty beers makes it easier for consumers to try a different beer for a change. In retail, DtDD can be recognised by its special displays. In 2022, the launch of DtDD will have a grand follow-up with an extensive campaign.

    Available online for on-trade customers in the Netherlands and Belgium

    Our on-trade customers are also switching over to the online channel. Currently, 85 percent of our on-trade customers in the Netherlands order online via our website sfbhoreca.nl.

    In the autumn of 2021, we launched the ordering platform sfbhoreca.be. This means that wholesalers in Belgium can now order online as well. Traditionally, Belgian on-trade establishments place orders via wholesalers. It is good to see how well these wholesalers found their way to the new platform. By the 4th quarter of 2021, forty percent were already ordering online instead of via e-mail, phone or fax. This has resulted in a huge efficiency improvement.

    Globalisation social media strategy

    ‘In 2021, we laid out a strategic framework for our beer brands on social media,’ says Digital Media Manager Marloes Weerd. ‘Social media is the most used online advertising channel for our brands worldwide. By developing marketing materials and content that can be used globally, we create greater synergy and efficiency between our divisions. We advertise the content according to the advertising strategy that is also part of the social media framework. This consistent advertising approach makes for a more effective use of our advertising budget.’

    Looking ahead: Plans for 2022

    ‘For our department, 2021 was mainly the year of sending a lot of speedboats out onto the water,’ says E-commerce Manager Annemarie Steenbergen. ‘We are going to further fine-tune the pace of this fleet in 2022. We will then want to make sure, for example, that the online customer keeps coming back to us. The data from all new and existing websites will help us make the right decisions in this respect. It is also our goal in 2022 to integrate the web shops even more directly into the informative consumer websites of our brands. Furthermore, we further expanded our consumer database in the past year as part of our Intelligent Brewery programme. It will help us create increasingly personalised offerings and personalised content as well as register customer contact.’

    In 2022, we intend to focus on the winning platforms. In retail, we will also opt for selected partnerships. Of course, in doing so, we will remain open to innovation and new opportunities. In this regard, we will be launching an online ordering platform for the British on-trade sector as well.

Product introductions


Based on the wish to offer a suitable beer for every occasion and at every location, we will continue to further expand our beer portfolio. In 2021, we introduced these new products to the market.
icon
Brewery de Hoorn (BE)

Cornet Alcohol-free

Low-alcohol beer.
Introduced to the Netherlands.

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Brewery de Hoorn (BE)

Cornet Spirit

Beer distillate.
Introduced to the Netherlands and Belgium.

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Brewery de Hoorn (BE)

Estaminet Refined Lager

Pilsner.
Introduced to the Netherlands.

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Beer Brewery de Koningshoeven (NL) & BrewDog (UK)

Practise what you preach

Quadrupel.
Introduced worldwide.

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Rodenbach (BE)

Rodenbach Red Tripel

Tripel.
Introduced to the Netherlands, Belgium and export.

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De Molen (NL) & Rodenbach (BE)

De Molen Wieken & Krieken

Barley wine.
Introduced in the De Molen webshop.

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De Molen (NL) & Uiltje Brewing Company (NL)

De Molen Hop & Drop

Export porter.
Introduced in the De Molen webshop.

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Beer Brewery de Koningshoeven (NL)

La Trappe Nillis

Non-alcoholic beer.
Introduced in the tasting room of Beer Brewery De Koningshoeven.

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Bavaria (NL)

Bavaria Malt Cola

Malt beer.
Introduced to the MEA region.

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Bavaria (NL)

Hollandia Light

Light pilsner.
Introduced to Latin America.

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Brewery Palm (BE)

Steenbrugge blond 0.0

NAB.
Introduced to the Netherlands (AH).

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Bavaria (NL)

Bavaria 0.0% crate

NAB.
Introduced to the Netherlands.

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Bavaria (NL)

Bavaria Bokbier 2021

Bock beer.
Introduced to the Netherlands.

Click here to load more product introductions from 2021

Product innovations


In addition to new products, we also innovated within our existing portfolio to make our products even more in keeping with consumer requirements.
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Habesha

Habesha retail pack

Introduced to Ethiopia

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Bavaria

Bavaria 0.0% crate

Introduced to the Netherlands.

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Hollandia Beer

New design Hollandia Beer

Introduced worldwide.

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Cornet

Cornet crate

Introduced to Belgium.

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Habesha

Habesha draught beer

Introduced to Ethiopia.

Awards

That the range of beers in the Swinkels Family Brewers portfolio is of a high
quality is evident from the awards we have won.

European Beer Star

World Beer Awards 1/2

World Beer Awards 2/2

Brussels Beer Challenge

Dutch Beer Challenge

Brewery de Molen