La Manufacture Urbaine, Charleroi
La Manufacture Urbaine, generally called ‘LaMU’, produces its own bread, beer and coffee, as well as the dishes on its menu. For the rest, it favours short supply chains and the micro-economy through an eco-responsible approach. The best thing? It organises events with local artists.
‘The LaMU project is universal, it reflects both the production of products and their distribution and their valuation’, explains Raphaël Allard, employee at La Manufacture Urbaine. The team consists of around 20 people who look after the production of the products, cooking them, serving them in the restaurant, the administration and organisation of the events.
Everyone has their job. My job is to manage the logistics and the beer production with the master brewer.
Producing bread, beer and coffee
Since it began, La Manufacture Urbaine has stood out thanks to its approach that favours the micro-economy and local production. The aim is to create a relationship between consumers and producers.
This unusual venue is primarily known for L’Atelier, a brewery and bistro which offers meals and drinks. The special thing about L’Atelier? It produces its own beer. ‘We brew 40 to 50 hectolitres per week. We currently have 7 different types of beer. We are developing new flavours, based on our customers, our preferences, current trends’, he explains. The beer, together with other homemade products, is sold at L’Épicerie e
and at various festivals and events. The distribution of these products is limited to Greater Charleroi.
The beer is also used to produce the bread, as the yeast. Five types of bread are kneaded and baked in-house. This is around 350 kg per week.
Following the same principle of freshness and local produce, the coffee is roasted in-house. It is made from 7 different arabicas. ‘We combine several arabicas in order to develop different flavours’, explains Laurent Dubuc, coffee roaster. The coffee is roasted on the first floor of the beerpub, in the cosier space. ‘You have to be very attentive during roasting. The coffee is very sensitive to heat, we are constantly checking the beans and the humidity’.
The rest of the products, such as meat, vegetables, alcohol, etc. are bought from the region’s producers.
If the products are not made in-house, they are bought from local producers
Strengthening the local area to promote social connections
The local philosophy of La Manufacture Urbaine goes beyond production. It is looking to value the region’s actors. It organises exhibitions, concerts or craft fairs to showcase our region’s artists. It also offers to organise customised events for companies through the concept of L’Évent.
What’s more, this local approach is also measured in terms of its carbon footprint, with respect to deliveries and distribution, primarily. ‘We have an electric vehicle for deliveries. We try to limit our journeys to Greater Charleroi. In general, these are multiple short journeys which makes the difference’.
The LaMU concept could be exported to other cities.
A highly symbolic place for the Charleroi residents
Created in May 2017, La Manufacture Urbaine was established in Charleroi’s former media library, stretching the length of the banks of the Sambre. A symbolic place both for the investors (one of them, Jurgen Dewijn, comes from Charleroi) and for the Charleroi residents: ‘We used to come here when I was small. The place has been very well renovated, it’s modern whilst retaining its past structure. It’s great to see it surviving in a new form’, a customer explains.
La Manufacture Urbaine was established in the former buildings of the media library
LaMU quickly became successful. The 70 tables in the beerpub are occupied daily, both at lunch and dinner.
A while ago, following the same local principle as with L’Atelier, the founders of La Manufacture Urbaine created La Table.
Located around 100 metres from L’Atelier, this restaurant offers bistro and gastro meals. The chef Fabrizzio Chirico, well known in the region, invents sophisticated dishes using our regional products.
In the future, the founders want to sustain the concept and create new products.
La Manufacture Urbaine
Rue de Brabant 2
+32 (0)71 30 60 13
©Video/Reed & Alex Dossogne