In the heart of the medieval city of Bruges is a remarkably contemporary innovation: the world’s first legal beer pipeline.
Running underneath the city streets, the tube transports 1,000 gallons of beer per hour—the equivalent of 12,000 bottles—from one of the country’s oldest still-operational breweries, Halve Maan (“half moon”), to its bottling plant two miles away.
Brouwerij De Halve Maan opened in Bruges in 1856. A century and a half later, in 2016, a crowdsourcing campaign was launched to raise funds for the beer pipeline. The 500+ donors received a priceless thank you gift: free beer for life. Today, visitors can glimpse a section of the pipeline through a transparent manhole cover cut into the cobblestone street.
At least one illegal beer pipeline set the precedent for this legal one in Bruges: In 1930, a 6,000-foot-long hose was discovered under the streets of Yonkers, New York, which is believed to have been a conduit for beer during Prohibition.