Belgian Beer Tours is a small tour company, established in 2012 by Jan Courtens and his wife Mizuho Ikeda. Although their company might still be young, Jan and Mizuho have many years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Jan grew up in Jonkershove, a small village close to Ypres in the middle of the Flanders Fields. At age 19, he moved to Bruges to work as a guide on the horsedrawn carriages. Three years later, he was offered a one year contract to work with the Friesian horses in 'House ten Bosch', a Dutch themepark in Nagasaki, western Japan.
Mizuho grew up in Handa, a city of about 100.000 inhabitants in central Japan. She studied International Relationships at Tsuda College in Tokyo. After graduating, she started working as a tour conductor and sales representative for World Air-Sea Service, a Japanese tour operator based in central Tokyo.
Jan and Mizuho met each other at the beginning of the 21st century. On one of their first dates, they went for a Belgian beer in Bois Celeste, one of the oldest Belgian beer bars in Tokyo. Yamada-san, the owner of the bar, asked them to help with the organization of his brewery tours to Belgium. That is how they got involved in Belgian beer tourism.
Jan and Mizuho moved to Belgium in 2010. They now live with their three children in Dranouter, a tiny village near the French border. In September 2012, they obtained their travel agency license from the Flemish Tourism Board, enabling them to organize and sell tours for foreign visitors wishing to discover Belgian beer culture.