Westvleteren monks angry with Dutch supermarket chain selling its beers

Monday, 12 March 2018 15:54
Westvleteren beer has been brewed in the Westvleteren abbey since 1838.
Today the monks brew three beers; Westvleteren Blonde, Westvleteren 8 and Westvleteren 12. The beer had gone largely unnoticed internationally, maybe due to its limited production and difficulty purchasing it. However, in early 2000 beer enthusiasts around the world discovered Westvleteren beers. Winning numerous awards, many regard the Westvleteren 12 as one of the best beers in the world. The beer gained further recognition when the information website ratebeer.com ranked it as the best beer in the world in 2014.

The beer can officially not be found in Belgian supermarkets or bars as the trappist monks do not distribute the beers to retailers. The only way to get hold of it is by ordering a case in advance and assuring the monks it will only be consumed for private use. In other words, no reselling. At the abbey, a case of 24 beers, is sold at 35 euro for the blond going up to 45 euro for the dark Westvleteren 12.

The news that a Dutch supermarket chain launched an advertising campaign, announcing it had 7200 bottles selling them for 9.95 euro per bottle, took the Westvleteren monks by surprise. "We learned about this through the media. We regret that this has happened as it doesn’t tie in with the value and the vision of our community”, said one of the monks. It remains to be seen if the bottles will remain in the supermarket.

Christopher Vincent
The Brussels Times
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