Stella Artois is one of the world’s most prominent beers. The company says it was founded in the 14th century in a Medieval Flemish tavern. Today, it’s a member of AB-InBev, one of the largest beverage conglomerates in the world.
As the owner of Budweiser, Yuengling, Corona, and several craft breweries, AB-InBev says it’s working to combat sustainability challenges in its supply chain. By 2025, AB hopes to implement smart agriculture, water stewardship, renewable energy and carbon reduction, and circular energy.
As a jewel in AB-InBev’s crown, the Stella Artois beer brand has become a staple of modern culture. As one of the oldest beers in rotation, Stella’s legacy has only boosted its profile among drinkers in the 21st century.
It was founded in 1366 in Leuven, Belgium. At first, it was only a holiday ale brewed for the townspeople. Named De Hoorn, the tavern didn’t become a full-time brewery until the 18th century. This name is where Stella got its iconic horn branding.
Sebastian Artois, the man behind the modern recipe, became a fully established brewer by 1708 when he was accepted into the Leuven Brewers Guild. By 1717, Artois purchased the De Hoorn brewery, renaming it the Brouwerij Artois.
Photo Courtesy Anheuser-Busch
Between 1720 and 1926, the Artois brewery changed ownership and location a few times. The original Stella Christmas beer was named after the Christmas star from the Nativity story. It didn’t become available year-round until 1926. In 1930, the first round of European exports was said to have started. According to company records, it didn’t reach the whole market until 1964.
In 1988, Stella Artois joined Interbrew. The company was created when the Brouwerij Artois merged with fellow Belgian beer producer Piedboeuf.
Interbrew’s first international addition was Canada’s Labatt. In 2004, Brazilian brewer AmBev joined forces with Interbrew to become InBev. In 2008, InBev and Anheuser-Busch merged. Today, the company has more than 500 global beer brands under its umbrella.
As breweries have made a concerted effort, Stella has become one of the key contributors to meeting its parent company’s sustainability goals.
AB-InBev hopes to achieve net-zero emissions and waste by 2040. It’s asking its brands to implement sustainability in four critical areas of a beer supply chain.
In the 2010s, Stella Artois focused on water conservation and ending the global water crises. Teaming up with National Geographic in 2015, a documentary depicting water insecurity in countries like Kenya, Haiti, and Peru was produced. “Our Dream of Water” follows real accounts of the struggle in these countries. Water.org co-sponsored the film, which was shown at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
In addition, Stella ran a campaign assisting women in these nations called “Buy a Lady a Drink.” It was started by actor Matt Damon and Gary White, CEO of Water.org — they co-founded that water advocacy firm. The beer maker donated $1.2 million to Water.org and asked customers to buy one of three limited-edition Stella Artois glasses to contribute to the cause.
Stella recently announced its plans to brew the beer in the U.S. It will still use the recipe created in Belgium and under strict supervision from brewmasters from Leuven. The transition began in 2021 and is now up and running.
It’s even become a pop culture icon. In June 2023, Stella collaborated with FX’s “The Bear,” the hit cooking dramedy.
Throughout Chicago — the setting of the show — customers got involved in a two-day Immersive Fan Experience and had the opportunity to play games at various pop-up events. In the program, you will see Stella make plenty of appearances.
“It’s been clear from the beginning of this partnership that Stella understands why “The Bear” has resonated so deeply in culture, and we’re thrilled we have the chance to unlock experiences that bring our fans closer to the heart of the show,” John Campbell, senior vice president of entertainment & addressable solutions at Disney Advertising, said in a press release.
Photo Courtesy Anheuser-Busch
Last year, NBA point guard Kyle Kuzma and fashion brand POTR by Yoshida & Co. announced their “Secure the Bag” program. Fans were granted access to various Stella digital content, including custom merch signed by Kuzma. There was also a sweepstakes where a lucky fan got to go on a $10,000 shopping spree with him.
“It’s been great working with Stella on this collaboration,” said Kuzma. “Fashion has always been a key part of my identity and how I express myself, and it’s been exciting to partner with a brand that understands the importance of savoring life in style.
As AB-InBev continues to push toward its sustainability goals, Stella will be along for the ride. The company has shown its ability to adapt to changing times and trends. It’s endured 657 years of business development, still standing strong today.