Kensington Wine Market Brews News – Edition #8

July 19, 2012

Westvleteren XII Arrival:

This is a special edition of the Brews News. As mentioned in earlier Brews News editions the long anticipated delivery of the rarest of Belgian Trappist Ales, the Westvleteren XII is arriving on Friday. In the past, this beer has been only available in small amounts by contacting the abbey directly and then picking up the beer on the appointed day and time. The monks would then sell you what they wished, rather than your choice.

For the first and possibly only time Alberta is getting a shipment of Westvleteren XII gift packs. How did this happen? The ancient monastery was recently found to have severe structural problems and it was realized that the monks needed a new monastery. To help with the cost, it was decided to make a one time offer for additional domestic and international sales. The brothers brewed one extra batch a month for a year to build up the necessary extra stock. The extra domestic stock in Belgium sold out in 48 hours in November 2011.

Those customers who submitted pre-orders for the gift packs will be able to pick them up after they are contacted by our staff. The pre-order price has been set at $74.99 for each gift pack. The regular floor sale price will initially be the same, but may be increased slightly in the future. The gift packs are limited to four/customer.

If you would like to read more about the Westvleteren XII, I have attached an adapted version of the press release below.


Marty Rozon
Beer Guy
Kensington Wine Market

Press Release – Don’t miss out on this onetime exclusive offer!

Voted the Best Beer in the World, Westvleteren has never been offered anywhere else but at the monastery door, making it one of the most rare and hard to get beers in the world. This year’s release of the Westvleteren gift packs is the first time it has ever been made available for export. And it may never be offered for export again.

Westvleteren is a Trappist beer, meaning it must be made under the watchful eye of monks at a monastery or abbey. With an important part of the old abbey in desperate need of repair, and some of the buildings declared unsafe for occupation, it became clear that the monks were facing a considerable repair bill. After a thorough analysis it became clear that renovation works could not be considered, as the root cause of these problems was the foundation. The decision was made to build a new monastery.

In line with the traditions of the West-Flanders region the new monastery was built with grey/black stones so it would blend in with the surrounding farmhouses which are constructed with black bricks. In the first week of December 2011 the monks moved into their new home. The construction of the new abbey took three years and required a great deal of work by the Community straining the monastic community’s financial resources.

A committee with representatives of many different groups in the surrounding communities was struck with an eye to helping the Brothers pay for their new monastery. This committee was able to convince several private individuals, but also institutions like banks and private companies to participate in the project. But even still there was still a considerable financial gap-to-fill. The Westvleteren Community was initially resistant to the concept of funding construction with increased brewing. The Brother’s brew little more than enough for their own personal needs, selling just enough to cover their needs. It is not a for-profit enterprise. Eventually the monks were persuaded to brew an additional quantity of raise funds for the work. The Brothers agreed to produce an additional and limited amount of Westvleteren 12 beer.

On the 3rd of November 2011 the beer was launched on the Belgian market, giving beer lovers a chance to buy this rare beer while supporting, and contributing to the monastery project. This was the first time that Belgian beer lovers had the opportunity to purchase Westvleteren beer without having to reserve in advance at the monastery.

How the name for the project “I helped to build an Abbey” was born.

The Brothers of the Westvleteren Community have strict controls their brewing activities, limiting the sale and distribution of the Westvleteren beers to small sales at the gate of the Abbey only. It was decided that the special release of Westvleteren 12 should have a unique look and feel, to distinguish it from the regular release and make it collectible. They also wanted the packaging to reflect the contribution purchasers were making to the construction of the new abbey. The artwork used the original bricks (size, shape and color) of the new monastery as inspiration to underline the statement of ‘having helped to build an abbey’ (Ad Aedificandam Abbatiam Adiuvi).

To make the experience complete an exclusive tasting glass was developed. As Westvleteren is considered one of the crown jewels of the Belgian brewing industry and its culture is known for serving every beer in its appropriate glass, the Westvleteren 12 also needed its own glass. The Westvleteren Trappist 12 was the beer chosen for the packs because of its election as Best beer in the world in 2005 and because it is bestselling of the Abbey’s three varieties.

A total 163,000 packs (not cases) were produced for sale, with 93,000 for domestic sale and 70,000 for export. In order to make this volume available, Brother Joris and his team had to brew an additional batch every month since September 2010. This was only possible because the beer was transferred immediately after the production to a ‘handling partner’, which employed disabled people to re-pack them in the brew-to-build-packs.

The beers were first released in the Belgian market, with all 93,000 boxes sold in less than 48 hours. The consumers had to hand in a coupon which entitled them to buy 1 pack. The exported cases are similarly not expected to last long!

Westvleteren 12  is ranked in the 100th percentile of beers both overall and for style.

Strictly only 2/customer while supplies last!




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