Beer on tap… for life! Crowdfunded booze pipeline to protect ancient Bruges

The idea may have seemed mad, but after all, the beer is called the Madman of Bruges — or Brugse Zot in Dutch. With the help of crowdfunding efforts among some 400 Madman fans, the dream of building a beer pipeline through the Belgian city of Bruges is becoming real. Brewer Xavier Vanneste got the idea four years ago to pump beer from his Bruges brewery to a bottling plant outside of town in a pipeline instead of having hundreds of trucks blighting the cobblestoned streets of the UNESCO-protected medieval city. Thanks to the crowdfunding efforts, he is now staring at the one end of the pipeline, which beginning in the fall will start pumping some 4,000 litres (1,060 gallons) of beer an hour toward the bottling plant, 3km (2 miles) away in an industrial zone.

You have to be a bit crazy — like the beer — to do such a project. I just had the money for that, and I liked it. So I went crazy and gave the money to the brewery.

Restaurant owner Philippe Le Loup

Sending the pipeline along streets where customers could siphon off their favorite suds was too utopian even for Vanneste, but he came up with the next best thing: IOUs with a lifelong drinking guarantee. "We have several formulas: bronze, silver and gold,“ he said. "If you put in €7,500 ($8,350), you will receive for the rest of your days, every day one bottle of Brugse Zot." For many, that offer was hard to refuse. About 10 per cent of the total €4 million ($4.5 million) investment for the pipeline has been financed through crowdfunding.