The telephone hotline in the Saint-Sixtus Abbey of Westvleteren has been replaced by an online shop. Luck no longer plays a role in getting hold of a stock of the rare but really desirable Trappist beer. By the way, purchases are limited to two crates, reserved for private individuals, while stocks last, and priority is given to newcomers or those who have ‘cooled off’ for a while.
The web shop, with its smart waiting room, is also only open for limited periods. Per month there will be no more than two sales moments. This is to prevent past abuse, in which economic considerations gained the upper hand. This meant that a foreign supermarket chain got hold of a large stock of Westvleteren 12, which – naturally without the permission of the Trappist monks – they sold for over five times the normal price.
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Users must register online in order to prevent such situations being repeated. And the buyer must always register the number plate of the vehicle which will be used to collect the order from the abbey. Any abuse will lead to exclusion from the web shop.
The famous beer will certainly not cloud the minds of the Trappist monks in Westvleteren. They will continue to produce just enough for their own abbey community and for charity.