Watching telecommunications technicians in Bruges, Belgium install cable lines underground gave Xavier Vanneste an idea. What the city needed wasn’t more internet or television. What it needed was an artery of beer.
Vanneste operates the De Halve Maan brewery in Bruges. His beer is a hit with locals, but logistics have put a crimp on business. The plant is too small for a bottling line on the premises, and trekking his product to be packaged elsewhere is a nightmare: Bruges is a not-quite-modern locale, with cobblestone streets and congested traffic. Transporting beer is an arduous process—at least it was, until inspiration struck.
To get the beer from the brewery to the bottler, Vanneste successfully petitioned city officials and Kickstarter backers to run a $4.5 million pipeline underground. Scheduled to go into operation this summer, the liquid travels through an approximately one-foot diameter polyethylene pipe at a rate of over 1000 gallons per hour. The project took four months, with the 2000-foot length of tubing running beneath streets and the city’s canals.