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Dealers, Trappist monks from Westvleteren move to e-commerce



The monks of the monastery of Saint-Sixte chose to sell their famous trappist only online. Objective: to promote access to the largest number and fight against fraudulent reseller purchases.

Life dedicated to contemplation and prayer does not prevent us from sometimes adapting to terrestrial, even virtual reality. The monks of St. Monastery Sixte on Westvleteren understands this well: from now on, orders from famous loggers will only be available online. Complete the famous "beer phone", the road must be ordered … for lucky people who can reach the other person.

Media exposure is not really in the habit of the small Westhoek monastery community. It is served on Friday. A press conference was held to present a new sales policy that attracted several dozen Belgian and foreign journalists. German television, British and American journalists have traveled, and two Chinese delegates are responsible for the promotion of Belgian beer in their country.

If the monks of the West Flemish monastery chose to sell online, it was mainly to maintain the control of sales of their famous trappist, whose success began to exceed.

Chosen in 2005 the best beer in the world by the American site Ratebeer.com, Westvleteren XII, the flagship monastery, carved out a reputation that quickly crossed the ocean. To the extent that more and more resellers are ignoring the ban on the resale of beer. Sales under the coat were then multiplied in bars, wine shop stalls, where they were proposed at prohibited prices. The offer that offers bottles (33 cl) to … 300 dollars has even been registered in Dubai.

Max 6,000 hectares

But the monks of the St-Sixte monastery held a ban on this resale. For very simple reasons: the nature of production is limited. This has increased by a third since 2005, but for monks, there is no question of surpassing the current production of 6,000 hectares per year.


"Those who do not respect the rules of sale and abuse of the system can be denied access to online stores."

"We don't want to produce more than is possible by monastic life", confirming Manu Van Hecke, the abbot's abbot. The trigger is undoubtedly a promotional campaign launched last year by the Dutch brand Jan Linders, who sold 300 Westvleteren Trappist traps at an additional cost. From now on, fans who want to order – always two trays for up to 24 bottles – must go through the website (www.trappistwestvleteren.be) which is made specifically for beer distribution, where customers must start by registering.

"Online stores can only be accessed by consumers directly and not for professional buyers"said Father Manu. When registering, the buyer creates an account with his personal data (including the vehicle registration number). After the order is placed, the QR code is sent to him via email. The customer must show this code when he gets his order at the monastery.

This website will be available two Wednesdays every month since June 26. "This will increase traceability, from the brewery to consumers, through buyer double authentication"said Jos Vermeulen, lay volunteer with a project for the monastery. The new system must also enable the community to regain peace of mind while facilitating inventory management. "It's increasingly difficult for individuals to contact us because people have managed to program 5 GSM to be able to make calls per second"Jos Vermeulen said.

From now on, priority will be clearly given to individuals. "Those who do not respect the rules of sale and abuse of the system can be denied access to online stores"said the abbot of Saint Sixte Abbey.


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