Pierre Celis Passes Away

I just learned the sad news from my friend Pete Slosberg that brewmaster Pierre Celis passed away today, around 8:00 p.m. Belgian time. He was 86. A funeral is scheduled for next Saturday in Hoegaarden, after which, according to his wishes, he’ll be cremated.

Celis was a true brewing legend, he single-handedly revived the style witbier in the 1960s when he was a brewer at Hoegaarden. He later moved to Texas to start a microbrewery with his daughter Christine, which was sold to Miller in 1995. He was still brewing, making three cave-aged beers under the label Grottenbier at St. Bernardus in Belgium. Join me in raising a toast to Pierre’s memory this evening, with a Hoegaarden if you can get one, or if not a Belgian or Belgian-style witbier.

Me and Pierre at GABF five years ago in 2006.


  1. Ed Chainey says

    Mijn condolescenses aan u op het verlies van uw vader Christine, en aan elk van uw familie, ook. Pierre was één van een soort.

    Ik ontmoette hem slechts eens of tweemaal lang geleden, maar ik enoyed echt het verkopen van zijn bieren, en vorig jaar het werken met u.

    Ik hef mijn glas als WitBeer in cheers van A aan Pierre op!

  2. Beer Delivery Guy says

    It does become a small planet Earth when we realize that we can honor those who have come before us from around the world! I first tasted Hoegarrden in Brugges several years ago. I had never tasted it prior but it was so good that day after a bicicle ride around the City!

  3. Jason Graves says

    What a great guy! I had the pleasure of meeting him 12 years ago as a bartender at Gruene Hall. Amazing guy! Will truly miss him! Much love to his family.

  4. jack van stone says

    Sad news indeed as he was a beer legend. I will definitely drink a belgian wit style beer that was inspired by Hoegaarden that has brought our brewery great success thanks to him.

    Thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  5. Christian says

    Sorry to hear this. His brewery in Austin was a favorite to take out of town guests. Still miss Celis White.

  6. JohnEFresh says

    I first met Pierre in 1994 at GABF. Whenever I saw him in subsequent years, he always treated me like I was a good friend of his. A great man who will never be forgotten.

    Thanks for the picture Pierre. It means so much more now.


  7. Tom McCormick says

    I was the first distributor to sell Celis in California, convincing Pierre to ship a mixed pallet our way. It was my answer to those who wanted a “lawn mower beer” (I hate that saying, but I used to hear it all the time back then when out selling beer). I called it my “river beer” – the perfect beer for that hot summer day down on the river.
    It was a tough sell, but it was an honor to be able to distribute and soon other distributors in California picked it up too. What a classic beer, and what a classy brewer!!
    Cheers to Pierre!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>