Monday, August 22, 2005

Scarce Suds


The internet has brought about serious changes in the power wielded by consumers these days. Online review sites have enabled people to research products before having to go and shell out their hard earned cash. This comes with a darker side though.

Apparently some Belgian monks have been forced to stop selling their famous beer after it was voted the best in the world and was promptly sold out. In Westvleteren of western Belgium there is an abbey called Saint Sixtus which is home to 30 Cistercian and Trappist monks who lead a life of seclusion, prayer and manual labour (read : beer-brewing).

When thousands of beer enthusiasts from 65 countries on the RateBeer Web site (www.ratebeer.com) in June rated the Westvleteren 12 beer as the world's best, chaos ensued. The abbey only has a limited brewing capacity, and was not able to cope with the beer's sudden popularity. The resulting crush of consumers sucked the supply line dry leaving many a beer connoisseur with empty steins.

The monks changed their answering machine to say "Our shop is closed because all our beer has been sold out," and the abbey has no intention of making more beer to quell the thirsty masses. "We are not brewers, we are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks," the father abbot is quoted as saying.

One monk told a daily paper that "Outsiders don't understand why we are not raising production. But for us life in the abbey comes first, not the brewery." I for one applaud their resolve. Most institutions would crumble under the possibility of the income. Beginning with the best of intentions, they would boost production to create a larger income stream with which to do the "lord's work". The mass cash flow would ultimately corrupt and the abbey, saturated in cash, would tear itself apart in conflict over what to do with the glut of cash. While the fight raged on, a crooked monk would dash off with the cash, forgo his vow of isolation and celibacy, and party like it's 1999.

At least that's the way they want you to believe it. I think that this is actually a brilliant move on their part to boost enrollment. Crazed beer fanatics will sign up to become monks and live the pious life. They would thumb their nose at the rest of the world, safe in the knowledge that the rest of the beer drinking world would be at their mercy. Doomed to drink second rate suds at the abbey's whim.

Damned beer illuminati!!

24 Comments:

Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

Yes, I can see a boost in Monk enrollment because of this. They're like drug pushers, give people a taste then tell them they have to become Monks to get more. ROFL. ;)

No baby yet??

8:56:00 PM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

i am still not going to join. i guess i will miss out on the best again. it happens a lot in my life any way.

12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kassi said...

May I just take this opprtunity to say how much I enjoy reading your rantings and ravings ?

2:36:00 AM  
Blogger Walker said...

Hey it's a limited edition.
It's like anything else thats over produced , it looses it quality and its flavor, good for the monks.

4:53:00 AM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

Go monks.

I for one cringe at the thought of a crooked monk.
On the other hand, I also cringe at the thought of beer, but 'tis what makes the world go 'round, isn't it?

Nice reporting here, RainyPete!

5:49:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I take it your a beer drinker then? lol

Good Lord! Who's that gorgeous woman above me??? She don't look like a Hag at all! Change your name Carol, or I'm going to charge you for false advertising!

oh, back to the beer/monk thing. Well..far as I'm concerned the beer can stay quietly brewing with the monks.

You know what? I think I need to go to bed, it's obvious I aint up to reading anything tonight, let alone commenting lol

6:51:00 AM  
Blogger Katya said...

i envy people who can live with little money or possessions, the monks should keep to what they do and not change...

:0)

9:48:00 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

It's take a whole lot more than good beer to get The Peanut King to give up his wordly possessions.

Now maybe if it was for the worlds best whiskey....;)

11:09:00 AM  
Blogger k said...

How much do you think they drink in a day??? :)

1:11:00 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

I bet the monks voted for their own beer on ratebeer.com - The beer's not that great. They just wanted to get on Oprah.

2:09:00 PM  
Blogger Aims said...

Isn't that just like it was in the old days? Monks with no money were meant to be the ones with a closer connection to God, so Kings, Queens etc would pay them for their prayers so that God would hear them, then of course the Monks got rich so their connection with God wasn't so strong & the Kings & Queens then moved on to the next skint monastry for their prayers & it happened all over again. I've no idea where I got that from but I am sure it's true!!

2:25:00 PM  
Blogger katie said...

Well, it has worked. I am now curious.

2:42:00 PM  
Blogger jon said...

It's hard to understand that kind of thinking in our greedy little world. Most of us would kill to produce something to which the public's demand could not be met.

my first thought when I saw the picture of the monastary, was how much it reminded me of the brewery in a movie from back in the day. A movie about two Canadian beer enthusiasts on a quest for free beer. The brewery Elsinore (spelling?).

Good post, hoser.

7:24:00 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Hello! Denny S. sent me. My first thought is "Booo, Boooo!" (protest) even though I'm not a big drinker. My second thought was that this looked like a scene from "The Great Escape". Stop by and say Hello!

10:28:00 PM  
Blogger glomgold said...

Who knew that monks were so devoted to their beer-making. I thought alcohol was the devil's work!

11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Rae Ann said...

Marketing ploy. Don't you think?

9:09:00 AM  
Blogger sands of time said...

Ive moved my blog

http://pinkdragonandpinklady.blogspot.com/

11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Rowan said...

I think it is great that their religion comes first, and that they are essentially not for profit, that's the way it should be in their case, since I didn't even know monks were able to brew beer, I know it goes against my religion.

12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Ms Vile File said...

There must be something to this Divine Inspiration.
Benedictine Monks invented champagne, and a Baptist minister invented bourbon.

2:16:00 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

I think you're right, it's a recruiting tactic!

8:23:00 PM  
Blogger SquirrleyMojo said...

That's wrong.

8:52:00 PM  
Blogger Rhodent said...

Well, hopefully the monks can get back to their quiet life.

You however, should be getting ready for a more riotous life... that baby is keeping us all insuspense!

9:03:00 PM  
Blogger L said...

wow. those monks are sneakier than I thought :)

10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Hick said...

Ha! Loved this. I better keep this information from my oldest who will be turning 21 next year. He may just join up.

1:00:00 PM  

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