World’s First Beer Pipeline Opens in Belgium

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Find out how a 500-year-old brewery's new 2-mile-long beer pipeline went from pipe dream to reality.

A 36-year-old brewmaster and heir to a legendary brewing dynasty in Belgium has made his boozy pipe dream a reality.

Xavier Vanneste, director of the 500-year-old De Halve Maan (The Half Moon) brewery in the Belgian city of Bruges, was looking for a way to more efficiently transport his popular ale. He needed to get it from the brewery — located in the town’s historic city center — to a bottling plant on the outskirts of town, CNN Money reports.

As one of Belgium’s oldest still-operating breweries, De Halve Maan has experienced rapid double-digit growth in recent years, according to NPR. Vanneste knew that hauling the beer to the bottling plant in tanker trucks on the town’s historic cobbled streets was not a viable option if he wanted to keep the brewery in the same location where it’s operated for 500 years.

“It’s part of the heritage of the town to have an old city brewery here,” Vanneste tells NPR.

That’s when the brewmaster began dreaming of a beer pipeline. In an effort to gain support and raise funds for the project, Vanneste began a crowdfunding campaign to build the beer pipeline. NPR says:

Of the total 4 million euros (approximately $4.5 million) cost of the project, about 340,000 euros came from the public. Depending on the level of investment, a certain amount of beer is bestowed every year — or in the case of the “gold-level” funding, every single day — for the rest of the funder’s life.

Some beer lovers with deep pockets who donated to the pipeline will get to enjoy free beer for life now that the 2-mile long pipeline is complete.

The beer pipeline, which passes under the historic canals and ramparts of Bruges, transports roughly 4,000 liters (about 1,000 gallons) of beer an hour, says CNN Money. That’s enough to fill 12,000 beer bottles.

De Halve Maan’s last beer tanker left the brewery last week. All the beer will now be transported via the beer pipeline.

For tips on saving on beer in your hometown, check out “5 Smart Ways to Save on Wine, Beer and Spirits.”

What’s your favorite beer? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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