Most of us know that Belgium is famous for its excellent beer, but what is more of a well-kept secret is that there are many other great spirits that have their home in Belgium. Less than one hour outside Brussels — where busy streets are replaced with endless green fields, and the bumpy country roads are shared with tractors instead of shiny brand-name cars — is Distillerie de Biercée, Belgium’s only fruit liqueur distillery.
Founded in 1946 and still operating from the beautiful, fully restored historic Ferme de la Cour, this isn't just a distillery, but it's also the home of a restaurant and museum. One of the top products produced here, ever since the founding day, is the lemon liquor Eau-de-Villée. The distillery is also responsible for making the citrus liquor Mandarine Napoleon, even though the brand owner, De Kuyper Royal Distillers, is located outside Rotterdam, in the neighboring country of the Netherlands.
The beautiful architecture of the majestic 16th-century courtyard could well make Distillerie de Biercée worth a visit in itself, but the exciting part is still to come: experiencing how 10 kilograms of fresh fruit is transformed into one bottle of fruit liqueur.
During the guided tour, visitors are taken through the different stages of liqueur distilling, and are educated on everything from where the fruit is harvested to how the percentage of alcohol is determined. In the "flavor room," bags of spices and herbs used in creating the fruit liqueurs are left out for visitors to touch, smell, and even taste.
Distillerie de Biercée is open from mid-March to November, and offers both quick tours and longer tasting events. You can also visit the distillery without any pre-arranged tour plans, just to enjoy the courtyard and a bite of local Belgian cuisine at The "La Grange Des Belges" Brasserie.