Trappist monks in Belgium who brew one of the world’s most sought-after beers are launching an online reservation system “to prevent people from selling their bottles on at inflated prices.”
Here’s what we know…
Trappist Ale from the abbey of Saint-Sixtus in Westvleteren, is treasured by beer lovers around the world…and the fact you have to jump through all kinds of hoops, including a trip to the monastery just to get your hands on a bottle only adds to the beers’ cachet.
And even though the brewery only sells these prized beers for personal consumption, and takes special care to ensure that their beers don’t show up on the resale market, beer profiteers are always making moves to get their hands on the valuable beers which they can resell at greatly inflated prices on the grey market.
With the rise of craft beer and industry websites trumpeting Westvleteren XII as one of the best beers in the world, the monks introduced a telephone reservation system in 2005.
According to Reuters, “customers were allowed to order two crates for collection at the abbey but were limited to no more than one purchase in 60 days.” But some beer profiteers “found ways to circumvent the rules, using different phone numbers in order to buy more than allowed, and in some cases selling it on at inflated prices.”
“Including a deposit, a crate of 24 beers costs 2.50 euros ($2.82) per bottle. The monks ask buyers not to sell to third parties, but in Brussels, Westvleteren XII can cost at least 12 euros.”
The monks, who have been brewing these famous beers since 1839, told Reuters that they “heard of a single bottle on sale for $300 in Dubai….
The final straw took place in 2018 when 7,200 bottles of the abbey’s beer showed up at Dutch supermarket chain.
And now the monastery is taking its lead from some American craft breweries now implementing an online reservation system ensuring that beer fans can only order two crates every 60 days.
The reservation system also means that beer lovers can select from three different styles. According to the Drinks Business…
“The abbey produces three beers; a blond, a dark 8% beer and dark 10% beer, priced respectively at €35, €40 and €45 per case of 24. Each case has an additional deposit of €15 which is redeemable by customers at any time upon return of the case and empty bottle.”