If you don’t know about Wesvleteren (one of the most coveted and delicious brands in the world), then this is as good a read as I’ve found about their full story.
The Rule of St Benedict, upon which Trappist life is based, states that monks and nuns should “live by the work of their hands”. As a result, Trappist communities make goods that they sell to keep their communities going. For instance, some make bread, some make cheese and some – like Saint Sixtus – make beer.
Deliciousness and small batches ramps up hype, and the inevitable conclusion is usually one of chaos.
A group of business people visited once and one of them said to the Abbot, “Sir, what is your management plan?” He replied: ‘Our plan since 1945 has been to brew 5,000 hectolitres a year. That is still our plan now.’ That wasn’t the answer they were looking for.”
The whole piece is worth a read, and every one of their beers is worth the effort to find and consume at some point in your life.