Looks like Switzerland is not the only European country that likes to bury giant pipes underground.
Granted, Bruge’s forthcoming underground beer pipeline doesn’t have as much devastating black-hole-creating potential as the Large Hadron Collider (which can apparently only be taken out by a weasel…really). But it’s still a bit freaky and futuristic. (And if we’re being figurative, could create a kind of black hole in your memory?)
The idea actually came to Xavier Vanneste, head of De Halve Maan (The Half Moon) as he was watching workers lay utility cables under the streets. Most people would just think “ah, there go some more taxes.” Vanneste had a better idea. He wanted to put his breweries beer into those pipes.
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Well, not exactly those pipes. His pipes were made from polyethelyne tubes, apparently “stronger than steel.” And yes, they’re about to become fully functional, piping 1500 gallons of beer per hour—yeah, imagine that—to the brewery’s bottling plant two miles away.
Vanneste isn’t just saving money on trucking costs. Bruges’ city center is a Unesco World Heritage site. His trucks were clogging up its cobblestone streets. Now, or very soon, the beer will simply be piped, unobtrusively, underground.
The best part, for extremely wealthy Belgians anyway, is you can actually buy into the project to help fund it. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the most expensive ‘gold’ membership, which costs €7,500, entitles the holder to an 11-ounce bottle of Brugse Zot beer (retail price, €1.70) every day for life, along with 18 personalized glasses.” (And yes, a dude bought that.)
Most everyone is happy with the pipeline (except for a few plucky residents who’d hoped they could literally tap into it). The mayor of Bruges actually called it a “breakthrough.” And considering how much money could be saved on trucking costs, not to mention those pesky fumes, the Half Moon model might just inspire a few other—ideally a few Stateside—breweries to follow suit and go underground.