In Belgium, beer is practically a religion. By some accounts there are over 90,000 breweries – counting tiny brew pubs and monolithic mega-beer producers — in a country that is smaller than Maine. But, preserving the picturesque beauty of their centuries-old cities is also a priority to the hard-working people or the country. It is for this reason that the De Halve Maan Brewery in the medieval town of Bruges has commissioned the construction of a second-of-its-kind beer pipeline to deliver beer from the brewery to the bottling facility.
According to an article by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the five-hundred-year-old brewery wanted to reduce the amount of truck traffic running through the ancient town.
“The idea is born of environmental and quality of life concerns, and not economic ones,” said company director Xavier Vanneste in the AFP article.
The plan is to build a two-mile long pipeline that will transport beer from the brewery underground to an industrial park and bottling facility where the beer will be packaged for shipment to beer lovers worldwide.
“We always wanted to keep the beer brewed at the historic site,” even after the bottling was moved out of town in 2010, said local official Franky Demon in the AFP article.
The challenge was how to allow the brewery to continue operating while reducing the amount of truck traffic in the “Venice of the North’s” cobblestone streets. Building the pipeline will reduce truck traffic by nearly 85 percent on the city’s streets and alleys.
Contractors will use state-of-the-art techniques to assure that Bruges’ gothic facades and medieval belfry are not harmed during the process. While the brewery will absorb the cost of the project, Vanneste could not estimate the economic cost at this stage.
Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2015.