Flying Trappiste: The long and arduous journey a keg of Belgian beer takes, just to amaze pizza lovers in Boise, Idaho.
Beers from Belgium are an ineffable experience. The one thing more amazing than offering a variety of Belgian bottles to our customers (here in Boise) is that we offer Belgian beers on tap. Let’s follow the journey of such a keg, in this case, a 5.3 gallon keg of Chimay Triple (white), from the Trappist Scourmont Abbey in the tiny hamlet of Chimay, Belgium.
To begin with, for the keg to be shipped, it first has to be driven or sent by train, to Antwerp. Once safely aboard a cargo ship, it heads west to the Atlantic. Then, after a port call in New York, the ship takes a surprising left turn, for the Panama Canal.
The freighter passes through the Panama Canal (hefty toll on that) emerging into the Pacific Ocean. A sharp right turn up the coast of Mexico, then of California, demarking at the pier in San Francisco. Here, the keg is lovingly set on American soil, before being added to a truck headed North East driven 525 miles to Boise, and promptly sent to the only pizza place around here that would bother to go to this much trouble just to earn a “Wow” from an appreciative customer.
One keg of Chimay will be on tap for as little as 2 hours before it is drained. But, that is not the end of the story, because folks in the Chimay Abbey at Scourmont, (those thrifty monks!) want the empty keg back, to clean, refill, and ship out again!
Please join us in raising a glass of Chimay and giving thanks for the Trappist monks, container cargo ships, and the amazing distribution folks who work with us! We love being the end providers, as we get to see the smiles and accept the praise for this entire elaborate team.
Fun Facts about Chimay:
- Total distance shipped: 9050miles (each way) as the gull flies.
- Elapsed time from brewing to tapping: 60 to 90 days.
- Elapsed time from tapping to empty: as little as 2 hours!
- Fee to get a container ship through the Panama Canal: approximately $150,000. Passing through the canal saves more than 14500 km, instead of sailing around South America.
The shipping fee (about $300 for 20 kegs of Chimay) includes an extra charge for stowing the kegs in the bottom of the ship, the part that sits in the water, so they’re in a natural refrigeration.