Rabauw beer is brewed by a colourful mix of people for whom life is both an adventure and a challenge. The socially inclusive brewery started in a beautiful old building in the southern Dutch town of Gemert, offering daytime activities, work experience and reintegration placements to people who face barriers to the job market. Using a contribution from the VriendenLoterij Fonds Rabauw expanded to a second location in Eindhoven in October 2021, creating even more work opportunities. We talked to founder Gijs Verhagen.
From passion to socially inclusive business
Together with two like-minded partners, Gijs started Rabauw in 2019 in a magnificent old building in Gemert. The concept didn’t fall from the sky. “Brewing beer was my hobby, so that’s where the passion came from,” he says. He was already an entrepreneur, running a catering business with co-founder Rik Feijen. Before that, he had worked for a well-known beer brand. The third co-founder, Ad Penninx, had a background in health care and education. Together, they hatched the idea of brewing craft beer while offering people job opportunities and a brighter future.
Expansion and custom training
The trio expanded to a second location in Eindhoven in 2021. “At a certain point, demand for our beer had grown so much, we were able to expand and help even more people,” Gijs says. The new location will soon boast a tasting room, where visitors will be able to enjoy lunch, dinner or a snack along with their beer. “When new staff members join us in Eindhoven, they can start in the brewery and then move on to the tasting room to get full training as cooks,” Gijs says. The work experience program takes account of individual needs. “It’s completely customised. People get as much time as they need.” In practice, that boils down to between six months and two years.