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Belgium to lose one of its famous Trappist breweries

14:55 28/01/2023

Achel beer will be stripped of its Trappist label following the likely sale of Saint-Benedict's Abbey, as no monks will be involved in the brewing process going forward.

For a beer to earn the prestigious and unique label of Trappist, it must be brewed by monks.

There are 13 Trappist monasteries in Europe - six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, and one each in Austria, Italy, the UK, France and Spain - that brew beer, but the International Trappist Association has only given its label to 10.

Achel was already stripped of this label back in 2021 when the monks left the abbey for Westmalle Abbey in Antwerp, but it was still considered to be among the Trappist monasteries because the brewing activities were continued under the supervision of the Westmalle Abbey.

Now that Saint-Benedict's Abbey in Limburg is being sold to the entrepreneur Jan Tormans, it will cease to have any oversight from a monastery.

Tormans, owner of the Tormans Group, intends to continue and even expand the brewery operations.

The taste of the beer is not expected to change, but its label might. While for years it has not borne the ‘Authentic Trappist Product’ designation, it did have the monastery’s coat of arms. It is not yet known if Tormans will keep that.

In purchasing the brewery, he also acquired a tavern area and a shop, and per the conditions of the sale must ensure the good maintenance of the buildings and the surrounding nature.

With Achel out of the running, there are now only five truly Trappist beers left in Belgium: in Westmalle (Antwerp), Westvleteren (West Flanders), Chimay (Hainaut), Orval (Luxembourg) and Rochefort (Namur).

Written by Helen Lyons