For the first time in their history, the monks of the abbey of Saint-Sixtus in Westvleteren have sold their Trappist in the USA. Through an American importer, they sold some 15,000 gift packs, containing six bottles of Westvleteren 12 and two glasses each. This unique event was anticipated for a long time by American beer lovers, but the exact launch date remained a mystery for a long time.
The sale was a huge success, people were queuing in front of the participating retailers, and in less than 24 hours everything was sold out. The packs costed 85 US Dollar, some 65 Euro, and they were sold in 144 points of sale spread across 21 different states. It was the first, and probably the last time, that one of the world's most wanted beers was for sale in the US.
The very popular Trappist beer is normally only for sale in the abbey of Saint-Sixtus, in the West of Belgium. It is usually produced in very small quantities, to allow the monks to focus on their spiritual and religious life. The monks have produced the same quantity of beer since 1946, 4750 hectoliters (144,000 bottles) per year. And that production is spread out over their three kinds of beer: Westvleteren 6 (also known as 'Westvleteren Blond'), Westvleteren 8 and the world famous Westvleteren 12. Westvleteren 12 makes up about half to two-thirds of their annual production. This special sale of gift packs was only the second in its kind. The previous one took place in Belgium about a year ago, when some 93,000 of those gift packs were sold. The money of both sales will be used to renovate the Abbey of Westvleteren.