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Belgium's Underground Beer Pipeline is a Real Thing

Belgium's Underground Beer Pipeline is a Real Thing

The next time you find yourself in Bruges, Belgium, you might want to consider that your next pint of beer might have arrived in your mug via a beer-centric underground pipeline. Yes. Not a joke or hoax at all. So here’s the explanation.

Background

Xavier Vanneste runs the storied De Halve Maan beer brewery, bar and restaurant in Bruges, Belgium. In fact, it is one of the last old-world Belgium breweries left standing. The company’s founding goes all the way back to 1856. Vanneste was recently confronted with a serious logistics problem concerning the bottom line of the brewery. The De Halve Maan brewery is within the Bruges city limits, but the bottling operations would be moved about 2 miles outside the city limits.

Logistic Concerns

The extra cost to ship the beer from Bruges to the bottler would be exorbitant. The extra shipping related costs would be representative to filling about 500 liquid-tanker trucks with beer, shipping it 2 miles from the brewer to the bottler, draining the beer at the bottler and then repeating the process as necessary to meet basic supply and demand business quotas. Struck by an epiphany as Vanneste watched repair workers repairing pipeline in the street, he thought about the business and savings possibilities related to constructing an underground beer pipeline that would extend the length of the distance from the brewer to the bottler. (Wow. Hold up. Are we sure this wasn’t a plotline from The Simpsons? Really? OK, then. Resume.)

Cost

Vanneste conferred extensively with government and municipal authorities to acquire the necessary bureaucratic permits and permission to construct the beer pipeline. Surveys of all surrounding areas were taken to make sure the underground beer pipeline wouldn’t damage any surrounding areas or architecture. All in all, it cost over $4.5 million dollars to build the beer pipeline. Vanneste crowdfunded over $300,000 of the beer pipeline construction costs via Kickstarter.

Pipeline Design

The underground beer pipeline would be made of polyethylene and be about 1 foot in diameter. The beer pipeline will be over 2,000 feet in length from brewer to bottler. (I should be rewarded for saying, “underground beer pipeline,” without a hint of irony for so long, you know. Until right now, that is, however.) Official underground beer pipeline operations will begin sometime in late summer 2016. The De Halve Maan brewery is also a top-class gourmet restaurant. They also offer tours of the brewery. By the by, if you think that only fools would donate over $300,000 via Kickstarter to fund the construction of a beer pipeline, then you should know something. Each and every Kickstarter sponsor who donated $8,400 or more to the beer pipeline construction effort is entitled to a free 11-ounce glass of beer a day at the De Halve Maan brewery every day for the rest of their lives. Only on Earth. People are really going to look forward to burst pipelines in this city.

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