Subterranean tunnel linking brewery and bottling plant will keep trucks out of beautiful medieval city.

Tired of delivery trucks rumbling near its mythic canals, Belgium’s medieval town of Bruges has approved the construction of a beer pipeline to link a five-century-old brewery to a bottling factory nearby.

The 3km underground pipeline will link the De Halve Maan brewery in the heart of the “Venice of the North” to an industrial park where the beer will be bottled and shipped to thirsty drinkers worldwide, the company’s director Xavier Vanneste told AFP.

“The idea is born of environmental and quality of life concerns, and not economic ones,” he said.

Once fully approved and constructed, the pipeline will keep 500 trucks out of the city’s cobblestoned alleys every year, about 85% of the town’s lorry traffic.

Beer has been brewed on the site for nearly five centuries and 100,000 tourists visit the premises every year, a major stop on tours of the town, a Unesco World Heritage site.

“We always wanted to keep the beer brewed at the historic site,” even after the bottling was moved out of town in 2010, said local official Franky Demon.

But to avoid harming the city’s gothic façades and medieval belfry, pipeline construction will use some of the latest technologies perfected for the transport of oil and gas.

The brewery will pay for the pipeline, Belgium’s first, though Vanneste was unable to estimate the cost at this stage.

Construction is expected to begin next year. – AFP Relaxnews