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Orange peels and pine needles
At the time, Kampman drew inspiration for his concept from the gin world that was familiar to him, in which producers are more often experimenting with botanicals. Applying this idea within the beer industry proved to be a hit. Beer made from barley from the Wadden region, pine tree flavoured beer of even tompouce flavoured beer are eagerly sought after by hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers. Lowlander also tries to work as sustainably as possible. For example, the beer ingredients come from leftover orange peels from restaurants and pine needles from discarded Christmas trees.
Rabobank has been funding this scale-up for several years now. Jeroen Brouwer is closely involved in Kampman's venture as Startup & Scale-up Banker. “Since we have partnered up with Lowlander, I have closely witnessed its growth. The company has no assets because it does not have its own breweries. This has allowed it to continue to grow in recent years without making significant investments. Additionally, Lowlander is not only supported by customers in hotels, cafes and restaurants, but also by entrepreneurs in retail. By responding quickly and decisively to circumstances such as Covid measures, from kegs to cans of beer for example, the company's sales have so far grown by a factor of three annually.”
Drive to expand
If it were up to Kampman, there would be no end to this growth for the time being. “From day one I had an international expansion of the company in mind. At the time, with a limited team and few contacts within the production chain, it would have been better to wait a while. But that ambition to sell our products beyond our national borders has certainly not disappeared. We are now taking concrete steps in that direction.”
And that is not the only thing Kampman has in mind with Lowlander. “We first focused on low-alcohol beer. We predict that non-alcoholic drinks are going to take off more and more. This is partly why we are now developing more and more botanical drinks with all kinds of new ingredients and flavors. We are also setting up our own cafes and bars. First in the Netherlands, but eventually also abroad.”
Cooperation with Rabobank
It’s clear Kampman has no shortage of plans and wishes. He sees himself supported in this by Rabobank. “They not only help us with financing, mainly consisting of working capital, but also bring us into contact with branch specialists within the bank. We can test our strategy with them. They also help us think about the future. How can we best develop and manage our own hospitality business? What is useful in terms of acquisition? On top of that, the bank introduces us to contacts that go beyond our national borders. Those insights, knowledge sharing and networking are enormously valuable.”
Brouwer in his turn is impressed by Kampman's entrepreneurial skills. “There are many hobbyists trying to make their product a big success. A significant number of them don't succeed. They get stuck in local markets, if they manage to find their way there at all. Lowlander, on the other hand, is already one of the largest independent brewers in the Netherlands, after the big brands. Kampman knows how to respond to the new beer drinker and has a feel for the taste needs in local markets. In South America, for example, different flavors are popular than in Western Europe.”
That's not the only thing that makes Lowlander such a success, according to Brouwer. “Kampman has an excellent eye for market trends. Low calorie, new, special flavors of beer that are created in a sustainable way are making an advance. Lowlander's botanical beer is a forerunner.”
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