Billie’s Bier Kafétaria in the Kammenstraat will once again win a series of Belgium Beer Awards this year. The most special is the one for Belgian beer personality of the year. After all, it goes to the dog Billie that died in December last year. “I received thousands of thousands of messages from all over the world,” says owner Stefan Cauwenbergs.
Billie’s Bier Kafétaria has become the best beer bar in Belgium. The cafe’s Craft Beer Fest has gone on to become the best beer event, and the place is now also number two on the list of the best beer restaurants in the country. All of this is determined by the annual Belgium Beer Awards. But the most valuable award for owner Stefan Cauwenbergs is that of beer personality of the year. It went to dog Billie, the mascot of the beer bar.
Dog Billie, Stefan’s ‘little one’, passed away in December last year. “Everywhere I was there was Billie and gear. He was the mascot of the business and took care of new customers with his own hands. People coming in with craft beer came in to get to know Billie. And so they suddenly learned to appreciate our special beers.”
Billie was at least as popular as Billie’s Bier Kafétaria itself in the world of craft beers. “I often visit foreign breweries and Billie always accompanied me. When he died, I got thousands of messages from all over the world. Even American breweries are sharing the news of his passing. He was loved everywhere,” Stefan says excitedly.
The French bulldog was 12 years old. “That is much older than such a dog normally becomes. Billie was a fighter. Two years ago, he was found to have a brain tumor. The doctors were very lucky, had two months to live and prepared to put him to sleep. I didn’t like that, so I went with him to the University Hospital of Utrecht for radiation treatment. He lived happily for two more years.”
Beer in memoriam
Stefan is still very saddened by the loss of Billie. That is why he travels for a week and a half to Estonia, Norway and Denmark. “In collaboration with local craft beer breweries, I will be brewing four different beers in Billie’s memoriam. Thus we honor in the appropriate way. Meet beer.”
“There is already a lot of interest in the Netherlands to buy Billie beers, but I want to sell them exclusively with us for a while first. The first beer requires a four-week brewing process. The beers in Estonia and Norway are put in barrels and only taken out around November. Then we’re going to sound good on it.”
In November Stefan will organize a fifth edition of his craft beer festival in the Waagnatie. “That will be the first edition without the small† We also have to make something special out of that.”
It is not clear whether there will be a new dog. “I often get that question, but I’m not ready for it yet. I can’t handle it emotionally. But I never say never.”