Netherlands | Social entrepreneurship

Rabauw. Beer that’s good for society.

21 May 2021 10:10

Unique beer, brewed by unique people; that was the dream of social entrepreneurs Rik, Ad and Gijs from Gemert. Rabauw is a true craft beer brewery, where people who would normally have trouble finding work can brew beer to quench both thirst and biases.

Twee mensen bij sociale bierbrouwerij Rabauw

“Seven years ago, Rik and I started brewing beer in the kitchen”, recalls founder Gijs Verhagen. “That’s when we came up with the idea for the social enterprise. Brewing beer is a craft that is ideal for people who have trouble finding employment, because it’s a structured process that requires teamwork. It’s also a product that everyone can be proud of.”

Believing in what people can do

Rabauwers like Pierre and Wout brew eight craft beers together. The brewers are as diverse as the beers they brew. One has autism, and another lives in an assisted living institution. “Rik, Ad and Gijs don’t look at people’s disabilities, but at their abilities”, Wout explains. “I can put all of my knowledge and skills to work here. That gives a lot of satisfaction”, his colleague Pierre adds.

Getting to work together

The financing of a social enterprise demands a modern solution. Rabo Foundation made the startup possible. For the next step - a new brewery in Eindhoven - Rabo Foundation called in two important players from its own network: the Anton Jurgens Fonds and DOEN Foundation. Rabo Foundation also invested its brainpower and knowledge into Rik, Ad and Gijs’ business plan by enrolling the young entrepreneurs in Rabo Foundation’s MiniMaster in Social Entrepreneurship.

“In the end, it’s all about the impact you have.”

Social & sustainable entrepreneurship

Rabauw utilizes everyone’s talent, and that’s made it a great success. This summer the company will be opening a new brewery in Eindhoven, where 40 unique people will find a home away from home. Rabauw is also a sustainable brewery. The hops are grown locally, and the spent grains are used to bake bread. That gives Rabauw’s beer an extra-rich aftertaste.

To the future!

“The more beer we sell, the more impact we have. And that’s what it’s all about for us: impact”, says Gijs. Ad adds: “Rabauw shows that you can create a profitable company through sustainable, social entrepreneurship. We’re building the future together.”

Social enterprises such as Rabauw create fair employment opportunities for people who like to work, but have difficulty finding a job. We see social entrepreneurship as the norm and inspiration for other companies.