A Belgian chalk quarry has been denied the chance to expand its footprint after a group of Trappist monks insisted doing so would risk contaminating the spring water they use in producing a rare beer.
The world’s largest minerals and lime producer, Lhoist owns the Boverie quarry and doesn’t believe the expansion plans would affect the spring water.
Despite this, the monks of the monastery – which is more than 400 years old – don’t want to risk ruining a beer which is only produced by 14 abbeys in the world.
The expansion would increase the life of the quarry by 24 years, until 2046. But a spokesperson for Lhoist has told The Guardian the company does have a plan B to excavate a separate area, expanding until 2040 instead.
Lhoist was, according to The Guardian, denied the expansion application because it was not permitted to “remove or divert all or part of the water which supply the abbey”.
The sacred beer has been made using a well located inside the monastery walls and has earned the monks an annual turnover of about €14 million ($AUD22.01 million).
Unfortunately, after the last two remaining beer-brewing monks retired this year without replacement, the Belgian brewery Achel lost its right to the authentic Trappist product label.
This latest development may threaten the legacy of the monastery, regardless of the quarry outcome.