It’s almost 2 miles long and transports 12,000 bottles per hour.

Belgium is known for its chocolate, its history and its beer. And in an effort to make the latter two attractions work together, Bruges brewery De Halve Maan built a pipeline beneath the historic cobblestone streets of the city to transport its beer directly from the brewery to the bottling plant.

As the oldest operating brewery in Bruges, De Halve Maan has a huge consumer base. It transported large tanker trucks through the city’s treacherously winding, narrow streets. Though the city’s mayor, Renaat Landuyt, was initially skeptical of the pipeline idea, he came around to the innovation as a way to support the business—and tourism. One portion of the pipeline is visible through a transparent manhole cover in the street.

Daily Mail

“We got the idea from looking at other life provisions that run through pipes,” explained Xavier Vanneste, the director of De Halve Maan. “Water pipes, electricity pipes, cable distribution, etc. So why wouldn’t that be possible for beer?”

Vanneste successfully convinced Landuyt to let his brewery construct the pipeline. After the project was green-lighted, public enthusiasm grew. Hopeful Bruges citizens began to inquire whether they might exchange access to their properties for a private tap into the pipeline.

Though personal taps weren’t possible, the public interest give the project’s engineer an idea: Why not give Bruges locals a chance to take some ownership in the project via crowdfunding?

In the end, more than 500 people donated to help raise the $4.5 million it cost to build the pipeline. As an added bonus, all who donated were promised free beer for life in proportion to the size of their donations, from yearly 6-packs to daily brews—for life.