Bulbs, beer & flowers

Mats Boot has it all

Tulips are an endless source of inspiration for Mats Boots. Mats and his family grow beautiful tulips in the North Holland Polder. But recently he’s been selling more than just tulips. The delicious scent and bright colours of his tulips have been captured in a speciality beer: The Tulipa Flower Power, a refreshing Session IPA.

How does a tulip taste?

Mats holds a freshly opened beer in his hand and takes a sip. “When I taste this, it’s like a cannon full of petals goes off, sending them flying through the air around my head. Then I really think, wow, I want more of that!” “There are no flower bulbs in this beer; rather the idea was to do something different with the scent of our tulips to make our bulbs better known. So we teamed up with a brewer to translate the scent of our tulips into a flavour. We’ve been working on it for two years and we’ve come up with a fully rounded colourful flavour”.

Tulip family

“My grandfather started his own tulip company in 1972. My father took over the business with his three brothers and now my brother and I run the business. So I really come from a tulip family. We were bulb growers, to begin with, but later we branched out into flowers”.

My mother is a real specialist in breeding and growing new varieties of tulips. She’s been doing that for 28 years. It’s a difficult and slow process. To breed a new variety you take the pollen from one tulip and put it on the pistil of another. The pistil then gets bigger and bigger and contains the seeds of the new variety. You then sew the seeds and it takes 8 years before you get the first flowers.

We have bred the entire range of tulips that we sell today. It’s a long and meticulous process and I think that 99% of new varieties are never cultivated. My mother has created more than 100 new varieties of the past 28 years”. “Now that my father has retired, I run the company with my brother. He is the grower, a walking bulb encyclopaedia. He knows everything there is to know about growing tulips. I am the more creative of the two. I am constantly developing new ideas. Sometimes they don’t work out, but sometimes they really succeed; the beer is one of the success stories. Actually, you could say that I am also involved in breeding – I breed new ideas!”