Gouden Carolus finds its origin in the rich tradition of Mechelen. Every Belgian city had their own city breweries and their own city beer. Mechelen, at that time capital of the Netherlands, had her brewer’s guild and the members were on their honor to brew the best beer for the Emperor. An old chronicle of Mechelen reports that this Grand Imperial Beer, “Gouden Carolus” was named after the golden coins of Emperor Charles. This “Grand Imperial Beer” is still brewed in the brewery of Mechelen called Het Anker.
Although the earliest documentation for the brewery dates back to 1369, it appears to have been in operation much earlier, proving that it may be the oldest operating brewery in Belgium. The Van Breedam family bought the brewery ‘Het Anker’ in 1873 and expanded it to become the first modern steam brewery. At the end of 1990, Charles Leclef – 5th generation of the Van Breedam family decided to draw up a major investment program both in production and in the renovation of the old buildings.