COLOSSEO%20col%20piccolo.jpg   INDONESIA HISTORY Last Update: 10 Apr 2013
 Andrea Fallibene


The industrial revolution still had not reached the Tropics and the production of beers, particularly for lager beers, was not possible. Due to the climate ice or mechanical refrigeration were not enough , during the months of the beer maturation, to reach the temperature just above freezing level.
But, since there a lot of beer was drunk in the East Indies thirsty climate, so the beers had to be imported. In order to keep the beer well, in any case, it had to be pasteurized. But the pasteurization in the  vessels was technically very difficult. Thus, almost all the beers were supplied in bottles.
The major Dutch breweries such as Heineken, Amstel, Zuid-Hollandsche Bierbrouwerij, Van Vollenhoven and Phoenix filled the bottles for export. This is clearly seen in the advertising materials in the period from about 1900 to 1940, often bottles or labels appeared in the newspapers or magazinesof Batavia.
The competition was fierce. Not only Dutch brewerie exported to the Dutch East Indies, German breweries such as Beck & Co. (Bremen) with the brands Koentji (the brand with a key) and Kloster Beer. Were also represented British, American and Japanese breweries.
Today large bottles (now 620 ml) are still called 'Bremer' in Indonesia.

By the long journey, the beer in the Dutch East Indies was very expensive and the quality left much to be desired as a result of careless handling.

A beer hall in a brewery branch at the begin of 20° century in Soerabaya.

The first brewery in Indonesia is dated 1885, the Nederlandsh-Indische Bierbrouwerij "De Kroon", when a four horsepower steam engine, was used to produce ice. On January 1886 the brewery was able to brew beer. The brewery began production on May 6, 1886. The capacity was 3,000 bottles per day. It was able to deliver the beers for half the price of the imported beers. The first types  brought on the market were Princesse, Indian Ale and Extra Stout. This brewery has been in production for about 5 years. Seen the beers came from the boilers, fermented beer was brewed. A large part of the imported beer had been fermented. This probably has played a trick on the brewery. It was declared bankrupt in 1890.

Rene Gaston Dreyfus was a French banker's son who had followed a brewer training. He founded in Switzerland the Societe Financiere the Brasseries (Sofibra). Dreyfus was contacted in 1929 by the Heineken Brewery Company NV (HBM) to examine whether it was possible to establish a brewery in Java island. Together with jhr Feith (Heineken) he traveled to the Dutch East Indies. They came to conclusion that Surabaya was the only suitable as a location for a brewery.
On the way back to the Netherlands Feith did a stop in Singapore. There, he got in touch with Fraser & Neave, which eventually led to a collaboration.
The N.V. Nederlandsch-Indische Bierbrouwerijen was officially opened on November 21, 1931. The beers were produced under the Java brand and the brewery was usually called Java Brewery.
In 1937 was started the extension and renovation of the brewery. Then the name of the company was changed to Heineken's Nederlands-Indische Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij. Since that time was sold beer
also under the Heineken brand with the Heineken label with the well-known star. Often people ordered a "bintang" refered to the Heineken logo. Imports of Heineken beers from the Netherlands was stopped.
It was introduced by Heineken brewery the new brand 'Rex'. This beer had to enter into the competition with the German import beers. However, it was a failure because the name 'Rex' sounded very similar at 'Beck's'.

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Java beer advertisings Heineken beer advertisings

After the Second World War, just before the Japanese surrender, the Republic of Indonesia was proclaimed. Eventually the formal transfer of sovereignty on 27 December 1949. Heineken continued as' Heineken's Indonesian Brewery ME. NV '. Since 1957, a policy of nationalist state capitalism entered. So, all remaining Dutch territories were put out. This worked badly for many companies.
Suharto took power in 1965, it meant that a change was necessary. In 1967, Heineken eventually took control of the brewery and the name was changed to PT. Perusahaan Bir Indonesia.
Since 1982 the company was called PT. Multi Bintang Indonesia. For several years it brewed Bintang and again Heineken.

Batavia - Archipel Brouwerij Compagnie is under construction by German Beck's Brewery. Nationalized by the Dutch Nederlandsch-Indisch Government in 1940 - Pabrik Bir "Anker Bier" was the brewed until 1999 at this location.

In August 1931, with a capital of 5,250,000 guilders N.V. Archipel Brouwerij Compagnie was founded. The goal of the company was: brewing and distilling, and the manufacture of carbonated beverages and ice. The board was formed by the firm Geo Wehry & co. This company imported all by Beck brewery in Bremen to brew Koentji (key) beer.
The first brewery was built in Batavia, it was made of steel framing, something in the Dutch Indies virtually not been done before. Wehry was a big trading company, started out in the tobacco. Wehry was later merged with Borsumij and then merged into the still existing Hagemeyer that time in the Dutch East Indies was established.
On 8 April 1933 the Archipelago Brewery officially opened. The beer was well received. Brands were 'Diamonds', 'Anker' and 'Kris' and a discount beer under the brand 'Gun'.
On 11 May 1940, all German companies in the Dutch East Indies were placed under Dutch authority, including the N.V. Archipel Brouwerij Compagnie. So the brewery was offered for sale and Heineken wanted the brewery to take possession of his strong position. The bid was too low and the brewery was bought by N.V. Borneo Sumatra Maatschappij, better known under the name Borsumij and continued as N.V. Oranjebrouwerijen. After the Japanese capitulation in 1945. 30,000 hectoliters of beer that sat in the systems of the brewery,  was made drinkable by Kees van Bommel, the new brewmaster, and sold. In '60 the brewery was taken by Jakarta municipalty and a group of Indonesian laboratory staffwho spoke foreign languages, were sent to Europe for a brewmaster training (freising near Munich and Ghent in Belgium).

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Anker Pils advertising - 1936 Kris Bier plate

Eventually  the brewery was taken over by San Miguel Corp. from the Philippines. Today the company PT Delta Djakarta Tbk is part of San Miguel and  Anchor beer, lager and stout, is still brewed.
For some export destinations (include Malaysia, where Anchor is brewed by Heineken group) is ironically used the brand name 'Batavia'. source.