Trappist beer brewed by the Monks of Saint Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren, Flanders tops the world’s most sought-after beer. Brewed annually by the 19 Trappist monks, beer enthusiasts have to travel in person and on an appointment to collect their allotted two crates.
Buying directly from Abbey, a crate of 24 bottles of the highly prized Westvleteren 12 fetches €45. After a recent incident in which their bottles were found on sale in a Dutch supermarket flying off the supermarket shelves at only £9 a bottle, Brother Manu van Hecke, the abbot of the St Sixtus Abbey, said he was determined to ensure the Cistercian monastery maintained control of their beer.
A website has been set up where customers can order their two crates, with recent and new customers given priority. Previously, a hotline at peak times attracted about 85,000 callers an hour and this digital step forward will cut off those seeking to sell on their beer at steeply inflated prices and reach to more customers.
Customers will need to create a profile leaving their date of birth, address, mobile phone number, email address and the number plate of their car. Although enthusiasts will be making orders online, they will still need to come in person to the abbey’s shop in Flemish farmland to pick up their two crates.
“The new sales system meets the needs of many Westvleteren enthusiasts. We have thought long and hard about a good and customer-friendly alternative. Beer sales at the Abbey will remain exclusively aimed at private customers.
“The web store is therefore only accessible to consumers, not to professional buyers. We want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to purchase Trappist Westvleteren at the correct price. Anyone who does not adhere to the sales the system will be denied access to the online store,” said Brother Manu van Hecke.
The new system, which will be launched between 10 am and 11 am on Tuesday, allowing the monks to link bottles to buyers, just in case they appear on sale elsewhere