The foundation of the Claeyssens distillery
The 19th century
The 20th century
The Claeyssens distillery today

The foundation of the Claeyssens distillery

All begins in 1789, when Gallium CLAEYSSENS arrives in Mennen in Belgium to escape the Barbing Revolution.

He buys the mill at the Wambrechies lock to manufacture, in a first stage, linen cloth. That mill is soon transformed into an oil mill and suitable premises are built. At the same time, a distillery is founded in Lillie.



In 1817, Gallium CLAEYSSENS' son transforms the oil mill into a jenever distillery, bringing much more profit at that time.

There were numerous advantages of creating a distillery at Wambrechies:

  • the presence of the Deal Canal, having been used since ever by boats that brought cereals to produce jenever (and later, they brought also coal);
  • the presence of a water mill on the lock site since the 13th century to grind the grains into flour;
  • the presence of ground water 30 meters deep, very pure, largely available, and cheap, necessary to produce the Claeyssens jenever;
  • the presence of cattle breeders in the surrounding villages, who could use the swill (solid remainders after distillation).

The production process was invented by one man only: Henri LENSSEN, an engineer and friend of the Claeyssens family.
That Rhinelander from Düren designed a very ingenious process, mainly automatic, and exceptional for that era.
His grave is next to Guillaume Claeyssens' at the Wambrechies cemetery.

  Distillerie Claeyssens de Wambrechies
1, rue de la Distillerie - F-59118 WAMBRECHIES - E-mail
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