Westvleteren, a Belgian Trappist beer of which the 12 variety is often considered as the best in the world, is notoriously hard to come by as you had to phone in advance and then collect a maximum of two crates. However, the monks will now start selling it online.
"Smart waiting room"
The web shop features a 'smart waiting room’, that gives new customers and customers who have not bought the beer for a long time priority over regular customers. The monks felt the phone-in system was outdated, causing frustration with customers and stress with the monks. The system should also fight malicious sellers, who buy the beer rather cheaply at the abbey and then demand ridiculously high prices selling it on.
A two crate limit per purchase remains in place and the webshop only opens once every two weeks, for a very short time. "We brew to live, we do not live to brew", abbot Manu Van Hecke said to Belgian newspaper De Standaard: the monks brew just enough beer to sustain their costs of living, and that is not going to change right away. Last year, there was some controversy as Dutch supermarket chain Jan Linders sold the beers for extortionate prices. Customers who resell their Westvleteren beer will see their account terminated, the abbot emphasises.