Thousands Of Gallons Of Beer Now Flow Under Bruges Straight To The Tap

A lot of people say that Belgium is the beer capital of the world, and, indeed, you could certainly make the case. Actually, as of today, you wouldn't be wrong to say that beer literally flows beneath its streets.

That's right -- all of your beer dreams are coming to pass, as the medieval city of Bruges, Belgium, has begun operating the world's very first beer pipeline. After nearly 4,000 years of beer, we'll go on record and say it's about darn time.

"As far as we know, this is the first time ever that such a thing has been done," Xavier Vanneste, the director of De Halve Maan ("The Half Moon") brewery, told The New York Times in an interview. "It's an old product, but an innovative project."

The two-mile pipeline, which can pump more than 1,000 gallons (approximately 12,000 bottles worth) of beer per hour, cost a whopping $4.5 million, but no one can say the money didn't go to good use -- especially the lucky donors who got a lifetime supply of free beer "in proportion to their contribution."

"For example, someone that only made a small investment will get maybe a pack of beer every year on his birthday," said Vanneste. "But someone who paid the maximum amount may receive up to one bottle of beer a day for the rest of his or her life."

Beyond the reward of free daily-to-yearly beer, the donations went to a noble cause, since the 500-year-old brewery was struggling with their usual daily beer shipments, which were becoming treacherous and expensive in the medieval town that receives nearly two million tourists per year in its old, narrow streets.

"We wanted to avoid running big expensive tanker trucks back and forth transporting our beer," explained Vanneste. "So we constructed a direct pipeline from the brewery to the bottle room."

Vanneste and his people examined the city's existing infrastructure and realized that there was actually an easy built-in solution.

"We got the idea from looking at other life provisions that run through pipes," he said. "Water pipes, electricity pipes, cable distribution, etc. So why wouldn't that be possible for beer?"

Unfortunately, it will be a while until Bruges locals (or anyone, for that matter) can have beer taps installed in their homes, despite TV pranksters who successfully convinced locals otherwise, according to The Wall Street Journal.