While there is much political talk and controversy over the recent rejection of the Keystone Pipeline, did you know that Germany uses a large pipeline for something quite different…beer! It’s no secret that Germans love their beer and they love their European football (soccer). The Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany opened its doors in 2001 and is home to the beloved team FC Schalke 04. But getting refreshing cold beer to over 61,000 thirsty Germans can be a tall order. The solution? Build a 3 mile (5000 kilometer) pipeline from the Veltins Brewery directly to the arena.
The beer is piped into 4 massive underground cooling centers where more than 52,000 liters of beer can be stored. From that point, the Veltins beer journey continues through more pipes and tubes to all the eating and dining areas across the entire stadium, finally reaching its endpoint…the beer tap and plastic cup.
Germany's beer pipeline idea is not entirely new. The Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio transports their beer from their brewery to their bar across the street via underground tubes. And Randers, Denmark had the Thor Pipeline (yet another beer pipeline) which supplied Thor beer to local bars in the area until its relocation in the 1990s.
And the concept of transporting beer on a massive scale is starting to catch on. The De Halve Maan Brewery in the medieval Belgium city of Bruges has been approved to build its beer pipeline. The pipeline will allow the brewery to stay in the historic ENESCO city, cut 85% of heavy truck traffic over its narrow cobblestone streets, and still get beer to its new bottling plant over 3.2 km away.
Construction hasn’t begun yet as they are trying to raise the funds. And European soccer teams such as Zenit St. Petersburg are looking at the beer pipeline as an option for their new stadium.
While heated debates will continue over oil and gas pipelines, it appears beer pipelines are a much more popular concept these days. Apparently, what goes through the pipeline might increase the favorability rating. And people really like beer. Here is a fun thought! Perhaps the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado and maker of Keystone beer will create a pipeline someday. And when their “Keystone Pipeline” is brought up for approval, it would be interesting to see the popularity of that version. Now if we could just run a giant hose from our favorite brewery to our homes to minimize all the beer growler fill-up trips, then the entire journey would be complete.
Now that you know you can get fresh German beer direct from the source, why not fill up an authentic German beer stein to enjoy it!