Social uproar: the consciousness of Oproer
‘Oproer’ is a 16th century Dutch word, the etymological source of the English word ‘uproar’. And there are few words that more aptly describe an approach to business that places a greater importance on having a social conscience than operating purely for commercial gain.
The dictionary describes it as a commotion, a state of violent and noisy disturbance. However, tumultuous events and behaviour are not always a bad thing. Especially when the furore concerns a conviction, an intrinsically motivated philosophy that involves doing the right thing. The right thing at all times.
It is therefore unsurprising that Utrecht’s Oproer Brouwerij not only chose its name wisely, but also operates in a continual state of uproar. The disturbance it creates is only violent and noisy insomuch as it is an inspirational rallying call.
The uproar manifests itself in the values held dear by everybody at Oproer. It candidly wears its heart on its sleeve. It cares. Not only does it care about the quality and character of its beer, but it overtly and unambiguously cares for sustainability, people, nature and the environment.
Oproer is far more than merely a brewery; albeit Oproer is an extremely capable and talented brewery that produces many wonderful contemporary and forward-thinking beers that are well-respected and popular at home and abroad. Oproer is also a movement. An ideology. The hope of a better future to which it has contributed. To which it continues to contribute.
Having a social and environmental conscience is fundamental to Oproer. And at its core is an innovative and ethical culture that is shared with many other likeminded breweries throughout the world. Breweries such as Modern Times Beer, for example.
Oproer is approaching its third anniversary at the time of writing, although its history stretches further back. The merger of RUIG Bier and Rooie Dop begat Oproer. The heritage is something special. Rooie Dop was a popular and renowned brewery that was instrumental in contributing to the introduction of Dutch Craft Beer into many overseas markets.
In line with its overtly green credentials, Oproer takes a somewhat unique approach in its response to the environmental footprint left behind as a result of its commercial operations. Specifically, in its overseas export activities. Oproer used to export its beers to the USA, but in order to minimise the environmental impact, it made the bold decision to start brewing its beers for the US market in Portland, Oregon.
At the heart of Oproer is its Craft Beer Bar and Restaurant, which is located adjacent to the Utrecht Zuilen railway station in the ‘CAB-gebouw’ building.
The building was built in 1949 and declared a municipal monument in 2013. In its former life, the ‘CAB-gebouw’ building was a bus repair workshop for the Dutch Railways; in its next life, it will form the hub of a substantial and eco-sustainable residential area named the Blue District — an ideal setting for the Oproer Craft Beer Bar and Restaurant.
Oproer uses its space in the ‘CAB-gebouw’ building wisely. It was until recently the home of the brewery itself — now relocated a short distance away — but now it simply highlights what it retains of its industrial chicness to offers visitors what the Dutch call Gezelligheid — roughly translated as something fun, cosy, friendly and relaxing.
Not only is it ideal for the beer faithful, it’s also well-patronised by families, partygoers, those seeking quiet relaxation and the discerning diners. The vibe echoes its ethos: a social endeavour that welcomes everybody for drinks, great food, socialising, fun and games.
The approach taken is worthy of applause.
Oproer is the brewing and service equivalent of Punk Rock. And that is presumably taken as a high-praise compliment indeed.
It’s not all about beer. There’s great food too. Sustainability and respect for the planet aligns with a vegan approach, and the kitchen serves 100% vegan food. It’s naturally natural, and environmentalists will agree. However, there is no attempt or desire to preach its ethics to visitors, so carnivores need not be dissuaded from visiting. Everybody is welcomed.
The vegan kitchen aligns seamlessly with the mentality of the brewery. Oproer’s beers use only natural ingredients in their production, and guest beers are also urged to follow the same principal as much as possible.
Furthermore, Oproer is passionate about supporting local business. Of course. Besides its beer and food, Oproer also offers visitors local fruit-juices, teas, wines, ciders and other non-alcoholic drinks. It even has locally-produced chocolate.
The Punk Rock ethos is palpable; the DIY approach is visible; the upcycle and reuse mentality demonstrates creativity at its finest. Everything appears to have had a former life. Yet an upcycle and reuse mentality does not mean a lack of elegance and sophistication. Style and taste dictate that huge expenditure on glossy fittings and trendy fixtures are not necessary to deliver that all-important Gezelligheid.
The Oproer Craft Beer Bar and Restaurant demonstrates that nothing more than a little thought is needed to showcase timeless, classic design. Authentic, unpretentious style and creativity does not require big bucks. It simply requires the right attitude.
Of which there is an abundance at Oproer.
Did we mention beer? Oproer is indeed first and foremost a brewery, a well-respected major craft beer brewery on the national and international scene. In its relatively new brewery location, a short distance from its Craft Beer Bar and Restaurant, Oproer brews its own core range of popular beers alongside various experimental and one-offs. Moreover, it brews beer for many other beer producers who share its outlook.
As would be expected from a brewery with a far-reaching reputation, Oproer is passionate about collaboration and has brewed many unique beers with other national and international beers at its locations in the Netherlands and the USA.
At the heart of its consciousness is its social uproar. Oproer proudly and without compromise displays its beliefs, principles and ethics. And that is something to be welcomed in these challenging times. If you care about great beer, great food and great socialising in great spaces, all delivered with a desire to be sustainable and with minimal environmental impact, then join us in the Oproer revolution.