Rochefort Trappist Beer threatened?

The monks of the Notre-Dame Abbey of Saint-Remy are deeply concerned about the quality of their famous Trappist Beer Rochefort. The source providing the water for the making of the beer, is bound to dry up due to developments in a limestone quarry nearby. The abbey is situated 5 kilometres from Rochefort, in Namur province in the Ardennes.

The Walloon group Lhoist has been exploiting the limestone quarry since 1956. However, Lhoist has plans to extend its activities further and to make the quarry some 60 metres deeper. This will cause the source that the monks are using to make their beer, to dry up completely, studies reveal.

Lhoist wants to go ahead with its plans, and suggests creating three new wells nearby, in order to pump this water to the original source. However, the monks are afraid that this will not be the same. "We only have guarantees about the quantity, not about the quality of the water", spokesman Christopher De Doncker told De Standaard. The monks are concerned that the taste of their beer will be affected.

As a compromise, Lhoist has offered to carry the extra cost of the new wells. However, the company still needs a permit to get the green light for deepening the quarry.