The Chouffe Story: Brasserie d'Achouffe is named after the Chouffe gnomes rumoured to live in the Ardennes mountains. According to legend, the magical gnomes ran their own brewery in the hills for many years until disaster struck and the brewery was destroyed. The story goes that one of these little brewers visited the founders of Brasserie d'Achouffe and gave them the recipe for the beer which would henceforth be known as La Chouffe.
A hobby that became an international successInitially considered a hobby, the Achouffe Brewery developed when the brothers-in-law decided to purchase the farm in which they had been brewing for 4 years. Then, one after the other, they embarked on their venture full time in 1986.
Small barrels and large bottles
In 1992, 10 years later, production rose from 3,400 hectolitres to 5,000 hectolitres per year. The brewery had invested in a new brewing house so that they could increase each brew from 22 hectolitres to 70 hectolitres. At the time, the Achouffe Brewery only produced large, 75cl bottles and “small” 20L barrels of La Chouffe and Mc Chouffe. The 33cl bottles only appeared in May 2009.
The Achouffe GnomesAs the brewery grew, so did its family of gnomes. Marcel (La Chouffe) and Malcolm (Mc Chouffe) found themselves joined by new companions including Matthew (Houblon Chouffe) and now Micheline (Cherry Chouffe)! Each gnome represents one of the beers in the range, and each has their own story and characteristics.
The story behind the name
“But how did the name “Chouffe” come about? An important question, because selling a product starts with a name that’s easy to pronounce.” – Chris Bauweraerts, co-founder of the Achouffe Brewery (“My Chouffe Story” 2012)
“CHOUFFE DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING!”
During a lunch break, one of Chris’ colleagues said with his mouth full “You should call your beer Oumpf!” “Oumpf” retorted Chris, his colleague swallowed his mouthful of food and for the first time came out with the word “Chouffe”. It meant absolutely nothing, but after sleeping on it for a few nights and pondering over it, Chris was convinced. His co-founder had the same first reaction as he did “Chouffe doesn’t mean anything!” But he too, after a few nights of reflection, changed his mind.
So they launched this word that meant nothing into the world.
Why a gnome?
“NO FAT MONK ON THE BOTTLE!”
At the time (and still sometimes today) characterful beers were associated with an image of an abbey and a paunchy monk… even if the drink didn’t have a religious origin. The founders of the Achouffe Brewery wanted something different, something more likeable.
ONE MAN’S LOSS IS ANOTHER MAN’S GAIN
Following a tornado that caused a lot of damage to the little Ardennes village of Léglise on Monday 20 September 1982, a charity event was organized with the aim of raising funds to help the victims. Chris was watching the auction of paintings by local artists on the television when he spotted a watercolor depicting a gnome spying on a farm through the long grass.
“A GNOME ON THE LABEL, NOW THAT’S AN IDEA!“
The 1st drawing of the gnome Marcel then appeared in April 1983.