Tired of delivery trucks rumbling near its mythic canals, Belgium’s medieval town of Bruges has approved the construction of a beer pipeline to link a five-century-old brewery to a bottling factory nearby.
The three-kilometre underground pipeline will link the De Halve Maan brewery in the heart of the "Venice of the North" to an industrial park where the beer will be bottled and shipped to thirsty drinkers worldwide, the company's director Xavier Vanneste told AFP on Tuesday.
"The idea is born of environmental and quality of life concerns and not economic ones," he said.
Once fully approved and constructed, the pipeline will keep 500 trucks out of the city's cobblestoned alleys every year, about 85 per cent of the town's lorry traffic.
Beer has been brewed on the site for nearly five centuries and 100,000 tourists visit the premises every year, a major stop on tours of the town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
"We always wanted to keep the beer brewed at the historic site," even after the bottling was moved out of town in 2010, said local official Franky Demon.
But to avoid harming the city's gothic facades and medieval belfry, pipeline construction will use some of the latest technologies perfected for the transport of oil and gas.
The brewery will pay for the pipeline, Belgium's first, with construction expected to begin next year, although Vanneste was unable to estimate the cost at this stage.