Laura Bliss is CityLab’s West Coast bureau chief. She also writes MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles magazine, and beyond.
Belgian beer innovation number 68,789,132.
As if Bruges needed another way to seem like a magical fairyland, it's about to get a beer pipeline.
The city council just green-lit Brouwerij De Halve Maan's plans to ferry suds through an underground tube from its center-city brewery to its bottling plant on the outskirts of town.
CEO Xavier Vanneste told Belgium's Het Nieuwsbladsaid (link in Dutch) that the beer's three kilometer (1.86 mile) trip will take 10 to 15 minutes through polyethylene tubes, at a rate of 6,000 liters of beer per hour. The pipeline is expected to take hundreds of delivery trucks off the roads, and its cost will be footed entirely by the brewery.
Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association in the U.S., noted that this is not only an unusual solution, but an unusual problem. It's rare for breweries to operate in a location separate from their bottling facility, since transporting kegs is an added expense. "But in places where there's limited real estate, I can see how that's an option," he said.
He also added that Bruges' pipeline isn't the first he's heard of: Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland uses underground tubes to ferry beer from its brewery to its pub across the street.
May no one ever knock that city ever again.