(Baileux, BELGIUM) – Chimay Brewery is importing a brand-new beer to the U.S. this year.
For years, the brewery has only imported the famous trio: Blue, Red and Triple (White). Later this year, the brewery will ship a 150th anniversary edition, Chimay Spéciale Cent Cinquante, through Texas-based Manneken-Brussels Imports. The TTB approved the label at the end of April.
It will only be made available in a cork-and-caged 750ml bottle. A photo from Espace Chimay shows it packaged in a wooden box with a suggested retail of 15 euros. The back of the bottle reads, “To celebrate the 150 years spent at the Abbey of Scourmont, the Chimay Trappist brewery has developed this exceptional anniversary beer, brewed specially for the occasion.” As for what the beer is, there is a flavor profile here though no style is specified.
Of the 150,000 bottles produced, approximately half will be exported out of Belgium. The beer will debut in July in Belgium on a limited basis though it won’t be widely released in supermarkets until the end of the year. UPDATE: The U.S. release of 2,500 cases will take place in September.
Chimay is the largest of the world’s eight Trappist breweries. Wanonce’s Marc Beirens, the only distributor for all of the Trappist breweries in Belgium, says the company produced 168,490 hectoliters in 2011 and is up against capacity. That is the equivalent of nearly 145,000 barrels in the U.S., enough to rank the brewery just outside of the top ten when compared against the production of U.S.-based craft brewers.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports, “While Chimay produces a considerable volume of beer, it’s not driven by the same financial ambitions as other brewing businesses. Profits help support charitable institutions in Zaire, India and Wales, and the Chimay monks plough a lot of money back into the surrounding region.”
According to Shelton Brothers’ co-founder, Daniel Shelton, Chimay rep, Luc “Bobo” Van Mechelin, told him that Manneken-Brussels Imports only imports 350 containers of the beer each year. Shelton Brothers will import 100 containers this year in total for its dozens of brands.
The monks no longer brew the beer though they are still part of the overall process.