Bruges brewery De Halve Maan has started a crowd-funding action to raise money to build an underground pipeline from its brewery in the centre of the historic centre to its bottling plant 3.2km away beside the Bruges ring-road.
Crowdfunding appeals these days are often no more than attempts to raise investment capital where conventional approaches – to family and friends on one hand and to banks on the other – have failed.
The Halve Maan appeal at least has the advantage that it’s not a business investment at all: it’s more of a social project. By building an underground pipeline, tanker lorries will no longer have to make their way through the narrow cobbled streets of the medieval city, which is good for everyone, not least the residents of the inner city.
"At the moment our huge tankers have constantly to make their way through the narrow streets of Bruges,” said CEO Xavier Vanneste. “That’s no longer sustainable. This beer pipeline means that we’ll be able to remain in the city.”
The brewery hopes to raise enough money by the autumn of next year to be able to start work on the pipeline – which has an undisclosed cost well into seven figures, according to reports. To raise the funds, there are three levels of funding:
Gold membership: costs €7,500, for which you get one 33cl bottle of Brugse Zot Blond every day for the rest of your life, as well as 18 personalised glasses. You’ll be invited as a VIP to the ground-breaking of the works, and the ceremony to inaugurate the pipeline;
Silver membership: costs €800, and gets you one case of 24 bottles of Brugse Zot Blond a year for life, six glasses and an invitation to the inauguration;
Bronze membership: costs €220 for one presentation bottle of 75cl of Brugse Zot Blond a year for life, one personalised glass and an invitation to the inauguration.
According to BB&F calculations, the Gold formula is by far the most profitable. Assuming you live ten years, you’ll have received 1,200 litres of beer for only €6.25 a litre. Compare that to the €10.13/l you’d pay for a silver membership or the whopping €29.33/l for bronze, assuming the same life expectancy.