Heverlee on the Hunt for L’Apprentice Protégés



Talented behind the taps? Best bartender, bar none?

If you think you’ve got what it takes to pour the perfect pint with style and panache, and can back up your performance with knowledge and expertise – and a dash of attitude – Heverlee’s new L’Apprentice challenge is for you.

The authentic premium Belgian Pilsner Lager is on the hunt to find Northern Ireland’s top Heverlee perfected pour master, someone worthy of the prestigious title of ‘L’Apprentice 2016’.

One hundred participants across Northern Ireland will undergo tough training in the complex art of draught management.  A final twelve will be selected to take the challenge to the next level, entering into the highly competitive race to become L’Apprentice.

At stake will be an all-expenses paid trip for two to the home of Heverlee in Belgium. The winner will spend time in five star luxury, visiting some of Europe’s coolest bars, (with spending money included, bien sûr) and enjoy a private tour of Martens Brewery in Bocholt, where Heverlee is brewed, as well as the magnificent Abbey of the Order of Premontre near Leuven, the spiritual home of Heverlee.

The Protégés, who will be nominated by participating bars and clubs, should prepare to meet the school of hard knocks as Michael Stewart, aka Le Principal and Northern Ireland’s own internationally trained and respected draught master, puts the candidates through the rigorous training and selection process.

With thirty years’ experience across the drinks industry, Michael is at the top of his game, famously uncompromising when it comes to quality presentation of Heverlee. His trademark charismatic flair will ensure the Protégés capitalise on his transforming training sessions.


Looking forward to teaching bartenders how to perfect their Heverlee pour, Michael says; “There’ll be no ‘Lord Sugar-coating’ this learning experience.  I’m training the trade on how to appreciate one of the finest of all Belgian beers.  I expect excellence from those who handle Heverlee authentic premium Belgian Lager … and I won’t rest until all my Protégés achieve perfection!

“Technical know-how is vital, but we’ll also be weaving in a little magic as the Protégés learn how to create theatre at the point of dispense and come to recognise that, in the fickle world of the drinks industry, a steady hand is key.”
At each stage of L’Apprentice judging, Michael will be joined ‘in the board room’ by Paula Colhoun, Customer Marketing Manager, and Jeff Tosh, Sales Director, from Tennent’s NI.

“This is about more than just a title”, says Paula. “The Heverlee L’Apprentice programme certainly brings style to training, but it’s got substance too.  The candidates who complete the programme will vastly improve their knowledge base and practical skills and we’re hoping that they will pass on those benefits to their colleagues: Les Ambassadeurs, as we have dubbed them.

“When training is complete we’ll also be ‘mystery shopping’ participating venues, to see for ourselves how each Protégé has passed on the knowledge learned to their colleagues. They will also be judged throughout the year on how their venue engages consumers via social media, how they encourage customers to try Heverlee, and on the success of their Heverlee promotions implemented.  With a Protégé of the Month award up for grabs, perfection pays!”


Venues interested in nominating a Protégé for the process should contact their Tennent’s NI Territory Manager before the end of April or apply online at heverleelapprentice.com. Training is due to start in May.