A little bit of history…
The “Union des Barmen de Belgique “(UBB) was founded early 1961 under the presidency of Gustave Tops. The first active members were the vice-president Raymond Ganuza, the Commissioners Joseph Houdmont and Georges Broucke. Georges De Kuypers landed the position of Secretary a delicate but difficult position and at the base of many difficulties for the Association as you will read further down..
Although the Belgian Barmen had tried on several occasions to unite in the 10 previous years, it wasn’t until 1961 that the UBB was admitted as a member of the International Barmen Association or IBA during the International Barmen Convention organised that year in Oslo.
Indeed, in 1951 Italy organised an international competition where Henri Dolferus represented Belgium and ended within the top ten. He returned to Belgium happy with his international experience and decided to set up the guild of the Belgian Barmen. Alas, good intentions do not suffice and because of a lack of both organisation and financial experience the initiative ended quickly and the Association was disbanded..
In 1957 the Peter Heering Company in close collaboration with SAS the airline, organised an international competition for the IBA in Copenhagen. Luxembourg, an active member of the IBA, encouraged the Belgian Barmen to join up with them to form a Belgian-Luxembourgian guild with Gustave Tops as President. This was the start of the BLBU and Belgium sent Leopold Douchars to the competition which he duly won. First prize was a fifteen-day trip to Tokyo with the inaugural SAS flight over the North Pole.
Flush with this victory the Barmen of Belgium offered to organise the International Cocktail Contest (ICC) in Brussels in 1958 during the World Exhibition. The courage of the different members overcame many difficulties and Georges De Kuypers won the contest with a cocktail called « Carin ». Unfortunately there was strife in the BLBU committee and Belgium broke away from Luxembourg.
After 2 years of nothing, Georges de Kuypers came to the rescue in 1961 by offering to take on the administration of the Association. He also proposed to create a Magazine for the Barmen of Belgium under the Presidency of Gustave Tops, ex Luxembourg President who by now resided in Brussels.
Because of the dynamic approach of the new Committee the UBB finally took off. Having joined the IBA in 1961 the new association emphasised mainly their professional approach.
Since, the UBB has not stopped the progress mainly due to the different past presidents: Georges Broucke from 1967 to 1987, Roland Rochat from 1987 to 2000, Pierre Schellens from 2000 to 2004.
Under the present President Serge Guillou the UBB has underlined yet again its professionalism by celebrating the victory of Sergio Pezzoli in Helsinki in 2005 as IBA World Champion.