Achel brewery runs out of monks to make its beer
Belgian brewery Achel has lost its Authentic Trappist Product label after its final two beer-brewing monks at St Benedict’s Abbey retired without being replaced.
As reported by The Telegraph, Belgium’s Trappist beers are under threat from a shortage of sprightly new monks to replace their aged brewing brotherhood.
Belgium is the spiritual home of Trappist beers, and boasts around 100 beer-brewing Cistercian monks and six of the world’s 14 Trappist breweries.
With the majority of the monks now reaching retirement age, the sector faces a staffing shortage due to a lack of younger monks available to take their place.
‘‘Achel is the first of the six monasteries that no longer has a living community. For the past four years there have only been two brothers,’’ Abbot Nathanael Koninkx, of Westmalle Abbey, told De Tijd newspaper.
‘‘In Westmalle, there are still 27. I do not dare to say how many will still be there in 20 years’ time,” he added.
The Authentic Trappist Product label is only given to beers made in the immediate surroundings of an abbey, produced under the supervision of monks and sold to fund the monastery and for charitable works.
‘‘The existential reality of what this means for one of Belgium’s most cherished brewing traditions is becoming clear,” Eoghan Walsh, author of Brussels Beer City: Stories from Brussels’ Brewing Past, told The Telegraph.
‘‘The number of new vocations for new monks have dropped off a cliff in Belgium, and they have never been very high to begin with,” he added.