Big Chouffe 2023: A small gnome in the big city
Since 2005, the backs of Big Chouffe bottles have been illustrated by a different artist. Over time, this tradition became an anticipated annual event, for both lovers of Chouffe and the artists themselves.
La Chouffe according to Herr Seele
This year, it was Belgian artist Herr Seele who agreed to illustrate the 2023 edition of Big Chouffe. The bold and cheeky artist, author of the absurd comic Cowboy Henk*, greatly enjoyed creating the label for the Big Chouffe 2023, with the result living up to his reputation as an absurd artist.
« “I was very excited to create this design for Chouffe,” Herr Seele said. “I am a big fan of beer. I know La Chouffe very well, which I most often enjoy in my favourite pub in Ostend, the Botteltje, where you can always find it on tap among 300 other great beers. One of my old friends, Pol, with whom I studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Gand, lives near Achouffe, where he also brews a little beer. We share the same love of beer and art.” »
Gnome about town
Like all the artists who have been invited to illustrate “Big Chouffe”, Herr Seele was given free rein to interpret Marcel’s world according to his own imagination. Through his drawing, he wanted to show the famous gnome in a world where you would not expect to see him. “I wanted to get away from the idea of the fairy tale gnome. Through my drawing, I placed him in a big city,” he said. “By showing the gnome in a metropolis, I wanted to make the situation a bit more absurd. In Ostend, where I live, there are plenty of gnomes!”
It was thanks to his absurd sense of humor that Cowboy Henk’s dad made a name for himself. “This character has been around since 81. He now has a life of his own. I see Cowboy Henk as a grown-up version of Tintin, with slightly autistic features,” the artist explained. “Henk is a real superhero, even if he is very stupid. Henk is a worthy successor to Belgian surrealism. The mood of René Magritte’s paintings suits him very well.”
Herr Seele, whose real name is Peter van Heirseele, is not just a comic book author. Writer, actor, piano collector and Flemish presenter, this cheeky fellow has many strings to his bow. You can follow news of Herr Seele on his website and on social media: Facebook and Instagram.
* Who he co-created alongside Kamargurka
Where to find the BIG CHOUFFE 2023 collector’s bottle
260,000 bottles of Big Chouffe 2023 will be available from February 2023. Each 1.5 litre bottle will feature Herr Seele’s illustration. They will be sold at beer shops, in supermarkets, at the Chouffe-Shop in Achouffe as well as on the webshop. They will also be exported to various European countries (France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland), as well as Israel and China.
The Big Chouffe story
The gnomes of the Valley of the Fairies are bon vivants who love to share their great love for beer with their community. This is what pushed them to, one night, swap out the brewery’s normal La Chouffe bottles for these Big Chouffe bottles, which, to them, seemed gigantic.
By the time the head brewer realised what was going on, hundreds of Big Chouffe bottles had already been filled. The team was initially worried about this unconventional product but they decided to let all (big) beer fans enjoy it.