Trappist beer — beloved for handcrafted origins and global rarity — could soon be even more difficult to find.
Stift Engelszell, an Austrian Trappist brewery located in northern Austria, could be the next Trappist brewery to close its doors. Four monks and 10 staff members who remain at the abbey have indicated a desire to leave as they say the operation has become unsustainable, according to The Brussels Times.
The abbey, founded in 1925, shared in an online statement stating that it can no longer maintain the Trappist standards for its brewery. To be considered an official Trappist product, the beer must be created entirely by monks at the abbey, according to the International Trappist Association. It’s unclear whether Engelszell will continue brewery operations without this certification.
“We, the small group of 4 monks who still live in the monastery today, have tried to the best of our ability to maintain the Trappist life in Engelszell Abbey in recent years,” a translated version of the statement says. “Unfortunately, this has only partially succeeded.”
The closure of the Engelszell abbey could happen in the next two years, per The Brussels Times, but a definite timeline hasn’t been established. The abbey’s brewing operations began in 2012 when Austria-local brewer Peter Krammer partnered with the abbey to launch brewing operations. The brewery currently offers five Trappist-certified beers: Gregorius, Nivard, Benno, Weisse Hell, and Zwickl.
Beyond Engelszell, there are currently just nine other functioning Trappist breweries in the world. The U.S.’s only Trappist brewery — located in Massachusetts — closed last year, and other breweries voiced concern over more possible closures due to shrinking abbey populations. Five Trappist breweries are located in Belgium, and four others can be found in the Netherlands, England, and Italy.