Monks at a Belgian abbey have run out of their famous beer after it was voted the best in the world.
The abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in western Belgium is home to about 30 Cistercian and Trappist monks who lead a life of seclusion, prayer, manual labour and beer-brewing.
A survey of thousands of beer enthusiasts from 65 countries on the RateBeer website in June rated the Westvleteren 12 beer as the world’s best.
But the abbey only has a limited brewing capacity and was not able to cope with the beer’s sudden popularity.
“Our shop is closed because all our beer has been sold out,” said a message on the abbey’s answering machine, which it calls the “beer phone”.
The abbey has no intention of boosting its capacity to satisfy market demand.
“We are not brewers, we are monks,” the father abbot said on the abbey’s website. “We brew beer to be able to afford being monks.”
Monk Mark Bode told De Morgen newspaper: “Outsiders don’t understand why we are not raising production but for us life in the abbey comes first, not the brewery.”