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The Bavaria brewery in Lieshout (province of Brabant) is one of the oldest breweries in the Netherlands. First mentions of brewery 'De Kerkdijk' in Lieshout appeared in 1719. Small-scale, traditionally crafted beer was brewed by the Moorees family, probably from as early as 1680. One of their daughters married a man named Swinkels and their descendants took over the brewery in 1764.   

At a time when many small breweries succumbed, the Swinkels family managed to keep its head above water by continually adapting to changes in the market. For instance, the Swinkels brothers decided in 1925 to make the change to bottom-fermenting beer (pilsner), even though top-fermenting beer was much more common. The decision turned out to be a milestone, which ultimately ensured the brewery was ready for the future.


To ensure the very best quality at all times, Bavaria opened its own malt house in 1939. The malt house in the Eemshaven was opened in 2006, making Bavaria owner of the largest malt house in Europe.

Since the early 90s Bavaria has its own source of natural mineral water, thus ensuring that, combined with the malt house, the entire processing chain is managed in-house, which allows Bavaria to maintain a constant high quality.


Bavaria has managed to obtain leading positions in niche markets through various product introductions over the years. As founder of the only truly alcohol-free beer, Bavaria has been able to establish a strong position in the Netherlands but also in other parts of the world. Bavaria exported its first alcohol-free beer to the Middle-East in 1978, not least because of the region's religious background. The brewing method used by Bavaria for its alcohol-free beer products is still unique in brewery circles.

Since 2007, Bavaria has been managed by the 7th generation of the Swinkels family. This event was celebrated with the introduction of a superior pilsner: Swinckels' Volmaakt.

The Bavaria name

The Bavaria brand name originated in 1924. Until then, the brewery was called "Brouwerij de Kerkdijk". Bavaria built a new brewery in 1924; the first brewery to switch to brewing bottom-fermenting beer: pilsner. Up to that time, only top-fermenting beer (dark beer without a head of foam) was brewed. The name Bavaria refers to the Bavarian brewing method which is the basis for brewing pilsner.  By using the Latin name for Bavaria (the Dutch word for Bavaria is Beijeren), the consumer was informed that this beer was in fact a type of pilsner.

Facts & figures

  • 1924: opening of Brewing House I
  • 1925: Foundation of the 'Gebroeders Swinkels' company by brothers Frans, Piet and Jan
  • 1925: new brewing method for brewing pilsner
  • 1934: opening of Brewing House II
  • 1934: first supply of bottled beer
  • 1939: opening of own malt house
  • 1954: opening of bottling facility
  • 1971: opening of new malting tower
  • 1990: opening of Brewing House III
  • 2006: opening of malt house Eemshaven