In what might be the most exciting pipeline-related news of all time, Belgium’s De Halve Maan (aka The Half Moon) brewery says that after four years of planning and work, their two-mile long beer pipeline is expected to be operational in just a few weeks. Sure, it would be even more exciting if it serviced every house in the country, but hey, one step at a time.
“It all started as a joke,” owner Xavier Vanneste told The Wall Street Journal. Located in the heart of the medieval city of Bruges, De Halve Maan had struggled with getting beer from their old production facility to their new bottling plant in a different part of town. Their trucks were clogging the tiny historic streets. But Vanneste came up with his crazy solution while watching utility workers running underground cables. “I immediately realized this was the solution,” he said.
The final two-mile pipe can move 1,500 gallons (the equivalent of nearly 100 kegs) of beer an hour at a rate of 12 miles per hour from brewery to bottling plant. In general, the pipe, which is constructed from polyethylene – a material Vanneste claims is stronger than steel, runs only about six feet underground, but in some areas it goes nearly 100 feet deep. And sorry, though people have made plenty of jokes to the contrary, the pipeline doesn’t have any pit stops along the way at local bars or the like; it just takes the beer from point A to point B. But hey, you can’t expect that the beer superhighway will be built in a day.
And, during its construction, the pipeline has garnered more interest than its historic surroundings. “People are taking more pictures of this than of the monuments around us,” Alain De Pré, the pipeline’s construction manager, told the WSJ. Of course they are. I’m no medieval scholar, but I’m pretty sure no one was building any beer pipelines back in the 1300s.