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Disappointing start for Belgian Beer World

09:24 26/06/2024

Belgian Beer World is attracting fewer and fewer visitors, sometimes just 100 to 120 on weekdays, according to Brussels MP and city councillor Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène (MR).

Coomans is the director at the Autonomous Municipal Company Beurs-Bourse and has calculated that 9,000 visitors came monthly since the September 2023 opening.

“Even though I am a director, people don't want to give me official figures, so I went to ask the reception staff,” Coomans told Bruzz, explaining that he was told Belgian Beer World attracts 300 people on the good days.

“On weekdays there are sometimes only 100 to 120, so it goes from bad to worse.”

According to Coomans, a key underlying factor is the museum's limited exposure: “You have to announce an attraction like this, but there is no signboard or advertising column anywhere in the area.”

He also believes the admission price of €17 is too high, though “there is now a promotion with discount coupons”.

Belgian Beer World was aiming for 400,000 to 450,000 visitors a year. When asked about the progress on that target, the Autonomous Municipal Corporation did not want to give official visitor numbers.

“For annual figures, it’s still too early,” a spokesperson said. “Belgian Beer World has not yet been open for a year. The high season, summer, is shaping up positively.”

Due to low attendance, the Autonomous Municipal Corporation, which pays rent to the City of Brussels, is currently in a deficit projected to reach €1 million for 2024.

“Mayor Philippe Close said the goal is to break even by 2028, but that seems impossible,” Coomans said.

According to Marion Alecian, director of city organisation Arau, there were problems from the start with the location at the Bourse.

“The City did not and does not have a clear vision for that historic building,” said Alecian. “There has also never been a public debate about its use as a beer temple. In an old brewery it could work.”

Alecian also believes the city government is distancing itself from the beer museum and today emphasises the success of the site’s other use as a public passage between the pedestrianised Boulevard Anspach and the Grand-Place.

Written by Helen Lyons