Famed Trappist Westvleteren beer will soon be sold at authorized Dutch retailers
The monks from the Sint-Sixtus abbey in the Belgian town of Westvleteren, Flanders, will soon expand sales of their Trappist beer to Dutch retailers. The abbey wants to put an end to the extortionate pricing of beer which winds up on the Dutch market without their approval.
The abbey's Trappist Westvleteren Blond, Trappist Westvleteren 8 and Trappist Westvleteren 12 will soon be supplied to "a large number of independent Dutch liquor stores," they said on Monday. The blond beer is currently priced at 38 euros per crate of 24 bottles, according to their website. The TW 8 dark beer is priced at 43 euros, and the TW 12 costs just shy of 49 euros. By comparison, prices of the Trappist Westvleteren 12 can easily top 10 euros per bottle after shipping when ordered via the websites of unauthorized retailers in the Netherlands.
"These usury practices are diametrically opposed to the values of the monk community. The brothers want as many people as possible to enjoy their Trappist beers at a normal, fair price," said the abbey. The turnover of the beer is used exclusively for the livelihood of the monks and the salaries of the people who work in the abbey. A portion also goes to the maintenance of the monastery.
The abbey will supply the Dutch market with about 240,000 bottles of beer annually, starting with a one-year trial. The first Westvleteren bottles should hit the Dutch market by June 18.
Sint-Sixtus Abbey brews 750,00 hectoliters of beer annually, spread over about fifty days. Until now, Westvleteren was only available at the abbey itself, and only for private individuals. But some of them took advantage of that, the abbey said. The coveted crates were sold for a multiple of the purchase price upon their arrival in the Netherlands.
The underground trade in Westvleteren beer also leads to the loss of many wooden crates and empty bottles. As a result, the abbey said it has to purchase a large amount of new materials every year. Details are still being worked out, but the expectation is that the bottles will be packed in cardboard boxes at a company from Hulst before the bottles of beer wind up on the Dutch market.
As a result, the wooden crates will not included in sales to Dutch buyers. Consumers can return their empty bottles to the liquor store, at which point they will be sent back to the abbey.
Reporting by ANP