Beer Pipeline Will Save Resources and Appease Neighbors

News by | Nov 2014 | Issue #94

In Belgium, a pipe dream is coming true. Bruges’ De Halve Maan brewery will soon build an underground pipeline to transport beer a distance of approximately three kilometers (1.86 miles). “The inspiration came out of the challenges we were facing to keep the brewing on the original premises,” explains general manager Xavier Vanneste.

For the past five centuries De Halve Maan has remained in operation in its original location: a historic building in the center of this provincial capital. But rapid growth in recent years put a strain on both the brewery and its neighborhood.

In 2010 the brewery established a separate processing and bottling facility a few kilometers away. This alleviated some pressure, but the beer still had to be transported from the brewery to the second location via tanker trucks. “This is not the most sustainable way for the future,” notes Vanneste.

Then, the idea for the pipeline struck. After lengthy discussions with engineers and the Bruges city council, a plan was developed and approved. Fortunately, the local response has been positive. “They like the idea, and look to it as a very innovative way to challenge these specific problems,” Vanneste says. “[They] also made many jokes about this project, suggesting that we could build some tapping points!”

Once operational, the pipeline will transport over 4 million liters (roughly 34,000 barrels) of beer per year from the brewing facility to the bottling plant. Vanneste hopes the pipeline will be complete by the end of 2015.