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Another Trappist brewery set to close

The last four Trappist monks have stated their intentions to leave Engelszell Abbey in Austria, leaving the brewery in a precarious position.

According to the local religious orders at the monastery, abbot general Dom Bernardus Peeters informed bishop Manfred Scheuer and the chairman of the Austrian Orders Conference Archabbot Korbinian Birnbacher, in advance of the dissolution of Engelszell Abbey.

In recent local reports, Birnbacher was cited as having said: “I thank the Trappist brothers for their work over the past 100 years. I would like to thank those in charge of the order for all their efforts and my appreciation for the clear decision that was definitely not easy to make. I wish the monks all the best and God’s blessings for the future. The Austrian Orders Conference will continue to be available to the Trappists with help and advice and will help where help is requested.”

The monastery, which was founded almost 100 years ago, in 1925, when Trappist monks resettled in what had formerly been a Cistercian monastery in Engelszell on the Danube. As the local religious communities emphasised, the religious men have made significant ascent in pastoral care and also for beer tourism on site for 100 years.

According to reports, the religious communities said that no solution had yet been found for the further use of the baroque jewel.

In a first statement, As the Trappists themselves announced, a commission for Engelszell had been in action since autumn 2022, however, in April 2023, the unanimous decision was made to ask the order to close the monastery and to look for a new place to live for the brothers.

The brother’s departure is understood to take place in the near future, however there is no fixed date for this yet. According to the order, good solutions should also be found for the commercial enterprises and for the employees in the brewing companies.

The property’s economic status is said to be very modest in the case of Engelszell Abbey, but with a good part of the income coming from tourism via the monastery shop and its brewery which was newly built during Abbot Hauser’s tenure.

The Trappist beer quickly developed into a sought-after export hit and yet this latest move marks the potential end of the Trappist brewery’s beers.

In March, db outlined how the future of Trappist beer faced deep uncertainty due to fewer people, this time in Belgium, being drawn to life as a monk.

Last year, there were already signs for concern when the world renowned Trappist beer from Westvleteren, usually only sold drectly by Saint-Sixtus Abbey, became available from De Bremstruik in Roeselare for a limited period giving rise to the speculation that Trappist breweries were facing hard times. While, in 2021, Belgian brewery Achel lost its ‘Authentic Trappist Product ‘label after its final two beer-brewing monks at St Benedict’s Abbey retired without being replaced.

Whatever the next stages will be for Engelszell Abbey brewery’s future, the notion that Trappist beers will not continue for many years to come is becoming a growing possibility with many lamenting the loss.

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