In an ever aggressive quest for quality limestone the Walloon group Lhoist is potentially threatening the sanctity of Rochefort Trappist’s water supply. Lhoist has been operating a quarry near the abbey since 1956 and has proposed to increase the depth of the quarry by approximately sixty meters. Studies of the proposal predict that this increase in-depth will completely remove the abbey’s water supply.
Lhoist has offered to pay for the creation of three new wells close to the existing water source and then pump water from the new wells into the existing abbey water supply. This works fine for drinking, bathing, and cleaning but the monks of the Notre-Dame Abbey of Saint-Remy have concerns it will effect the taste of their beers.
The humble monks who have been brewing beer at the abbey since 1595 pride themselves in the highest of quality beer brewed in a style and tradition that has lasted centuries. While the Lhoist group has attempted to assuage their fears the monk’s concern is that while the quantity of water delivered to the existing water supply is adequate there are no promises of water quality. To the monks who brew such delicious beer, the water quality is of utmost importance.
Lhoist still needs a permit to deepen the quarry so there is time for protests and complaints but let us hope that tradition is not subverted in the name of progress. The monks have been brewing long before the quarry ever opened.