Belgium Builds World’s First Beer Pipeline

It’s well-known that Belgians love beer. Belgium has been in the brewing industry dating back 1,000s of years. It should come as no surprise that Belgium—one of the top beer-drinking countries in the world—has become the first country to install the world’s first beer pipeline.

Sitting in Bruges, Belgium, a city that receives two million tourists every year on average and is known for being on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is a brewery by the name of De Halve Maan, or “The Half Moon.”

Established in 1564, the family-owned brewery is one of the country’s oldest facilities, and up until last week, relied on daily deliveries of freshly brewed beer via tanker trucks. As time passed, this method of delivery was proving to be more difficult and expensive.

In 2015, the brewery needed a more efficient and cost-effective way of moving its brew to its bottling site located in the middle of the city. Eventually, a solution presented itself, which was to construct a pipeline nearly two miles long and lay it underneath the ground.

The next issue was to raise the necessary funds for the project, which cost around $4.5 million, or 4 million euros. A crowdfunding project raised more than $300,000 to put toward the cost of the project. Individuals who invested in the project were promised to receive their investment back in—you guessed it—beer!

“It was so important to find that solution for our mobility problem, because if we want to work in a modern way, from time to time we need to let trucks enter the historical city, and that is what we don’t like, because it is always a risk for the historical buildings and streets,” said Renaat Landuyt, Mayor of Bruges.

According to the New York Times, Xavier Vanneste, the director of De Halve Maan, stated this “is the first time ever that such a thing has been done. It’s an old product, but an innovative project.”

He said the idea came after they observed other pipelines running through the city, “We got the idea from looking at other life provisions that run through pipes,” Vanneste said. “Water pipes, electricity pipes, cable distribution, etc. So, why wouldn’t that be possible for beer?”

In a single hour, over 1,000 gallons of beer filling roughly 12,000 bottles of beer flows through the pipeline. It’s a win-win for beer lovers, especially in a country where beer-making is a culturally ingrained part of its history and its current everyday life. Most importantly, a much-loved brewery gets to stay in its home city and those who contributed receive free beer for life “in proportion to their contribution.” Cheers!

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