St Bernardus brewery invests 14m euros to boost production and tourism

St Bernardus brewery in Watou, West Flanders, has invested 14 million euros in a new bottling plant and brewery tour to meet international demand and attract beer tourists.

The bottling plant, costing 12 million euros, has been operational for almost a year. A further 2 million euros has been spent on developing the site for tourists with an interactive tour. The company hopes to double the number of visitors to almost 100,000 a year.

“The interactive brewery tour betrays our ambition to be a leader in Belgium when it comes to trendsetting visitor concepts within a brewery environment,” said managing director Julie Depypere. “We may not be monks, but St Bernardus is looking more and more like a place of pilgrimage worthy of the name.”

After the Second World War, the Watou site was in use as a dairy, until the owner was invited by the Trappist monks at Westvleteren to brew and market their beers under licence. That agreement expired in 1992 when the Trappist breweries decided to award the Authentic Trappist Beer label exclusively to beers brewed in an abbey. 

The brewery was taken over by the Depypere family in 1998. They built a new brewing hall and saw production rise from 8,000 to 50,000 hectolitres, with 15 million bottles being exported to 80 countries. 



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