International Business

Paving a New Way… With Beer?

Bruges Pipeline

Natalie Patura

It is common knowledge that using trucks for transportation causes a considerable amount of traffic and pollution, neither of which people particularly appreciate. A small, medieval-like town in northwestern Belgium has decided to do something about it. Bruges, the capital of West Fleming, has approved the building of a pipeline to decrease the environmental impact of transportation trucks. Building pipelines for transport isn’t any particularly new revelation. But what differentiates this pipeline is what it will carry – beer.

The two mile long pipeline will connect the historic (nearly five century old) brewery De Halve Maan, the last brewery standing in the city, to the bottling factory that is nearby. It is estimated that this project will keep approximately 500 trucks each year off of the cobblestone streets of this small town (Bloomberg). And although the company director has stated that this is an idea stemming from the concerns about the environment and quality of life, it is easy to see that there will be many economic benefits as well. Petrol is expensive recently, particularly in European countries. The pipeline will save the company scores of dollars on fuel.

Time, which is always of the essence, will also be reduced. The pipeline will carry 1,500 gallons of beer each hour, and it will only take between 10 and 15 minutes for the drink to flow through (Bloomberg). That’s an impressive improvement over the amount of time that it would take to load trucks, send them on their way, ensure that they drive slowly over the streets, and then wait for them to return. The people of Bruges are also happy about the reduction of traffic that will result from this innovative way to transport products.

Construction is scheduled to begin next year, but the cost and start date of the project have not yet been revealed. However, it has been stated that the brewery will pay for the construction and will build the pipeline using modern computer technology to drill so as to not ruin the city’s widely known and appreciated gothic architecture.

Although the Bruges pipeline certainly is interesting, it’s also worthwhile to note that it isn’t the first of its kind (a brewery in Germany had built a beer pipeline earlier in Gelsenkirchenm). It kind of makes you wonder how long we’ll be waiting for pipelines to carry other drinks such as coffee and orange juice to our homes, doesn’t it?


Sources:

Wong, Venessa. “Belgian Town Builds a Beer Pipeline to Save the Environment.” Bloomberg Business Week. Bloomberg, 26 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.

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