Stadshaven Brewery: Where beer, history and sea creatures collide

A visit at Stadshaven Brouwerij: an independent craft brewery in the heart of Rotterdam.

The Beer

Stadshaven Brewery dropped anchor in the harbour of Rotterdam a little over 2 years ago. In that short time, they have become the Netherlands' second largest independent craft brewery and produce Rotterdam's most sustainable beer.

Walking into the 5,000-square-metre warehouse where the brewery is located feels impressive, with its spacious restaurant, waterfront pub, and 19 fermentation tanks holding almost 200,000 litres of beer!  

The brewery’s location in Rotterdam’s Merwe-Vierhavens has a long history that inspired how Stadshaven brews craft beer. The site was constructed 100 years ago, and it developed into one of the world’s largest fruit ports. The brewery’s current building was once a warehouse for citrus fruits in the 1970s, which Stadshaven takes great pride in. 

“For us, it's beer plus fruit,” says Stadshaven’s marketeer Nina Landl, who has been with the brewery just before the beers hit the market. “At the end of the brewing process, we put fresh fruit in the hop gun. You don't have a very fruity beer, but it’s a subtle twist that enhances the flavour. So the history lives on, at least in our beers.” 

The Art

But wait, it gets even better. Each nautically-themed beer has a background story that connects its art and flavour, which can also be seen throughout the brewery’s decor. It’s easy to imagine explorations across the ocean, as guests are greeted by a gigantic red octopus spanning an entire wall – from floor to ceiling – as you walk into the gastropub. 

“Every beer has its own storyline about a crew that goes on an adventure for exotic fruits, and each time they encounter different sea creatures,” says Nina. “The octopus is associated with our blonde beer, which has a twist of kiwi berry and blood orange. This isn’t a normal octopus, but the type of creature you may know from the Pirates of the Caribbean. Something that capsizes large ships.” 

“Another example is our Moray IPA, and we use carambola and tangerine for this one. Carambola is a star fruit from Malaysia where the moray eel lives. So we have this sea creature for a fierce, bitter ale and bright artwork.” 

The Experience

Stadshaven partnered with NOMOQ to produce cans for the Octopus Blonde and Moray IPA, the first of cans in the brewery’s portfolio. The cans recently debuted at the Gastvrij Rotterdam event, with over 500 food and beverage participants in attendance. 

“It was really nice to have the new cans at Gastvrij, as we received a lot of compliments on their look and feel. People commented on how the illustration really pops out and that even the texture feels like quality. So the first impression went really well,” says Nina. 

When deciding to expand to canned brews, Stadshaven considered the look of the cans but also the canning process and sustainability aspect. 

“The sample box that NOMOQ sent was great. We were fascinated by the look of the cans and how there isn’t a buffer space. You can use the full can for the content and illustration, and you're not limited like you are with labels. And digital printing also works well with our filling line. You don’t need to sleeve the cans, so the process is more efficient,” says Nina. “We also like that the cans are infinitely recyclable, and not having plastic labels is better for the recycling process as well.” 

The Sustainability

Sustainability is in the DNA of Stadshaven, which is apparent in almost every way the company operates, from 1000 solar panels lining the brewery’s roof to how they handle their spent grain. Stadshaven works with local farms to reuse the grain for cattle feed, and then the dairy products return to the brewery’s restaurant. 

“We work with the pioneering Floating Farm in the harbour, which is the world's first floating dairy farm. There's also a bakery that repurposes our spent grain and crafts sourdough bread with it. Our chefs at the gastropub incorporate both the dairy products and bread into their culinary creations, so it’s full circle,” says Nina. 

Stadshaven is also partnering with a company called Rainmaker on a pilot project to collect wastewater from the brewing process, which is then recycled and filtered to produce clean water again. 

“Sustainability was part of the reason we chose to work with NOMOQ because sustainability is in the process of everything we do as a company,” says Nina. 

Working with brilliant industry heroes who see things differently is part of NOMOQ’s deep-rooted values. NOMOQ will continue helping partners like Stadshaven, offering flexibility and stunning, short-lead solutions, so their cans and creativity shine.

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