|The "historical" trappist breweries.|
The abbey of Sept Fons
In 1132, Our Lady of Saint-Lieu was founded in Sept-Fons, in Bourbonnais (France), by the abbey of Fontenay, second foundation of St-Bernard. In 1656, king Louis XIV designated Eustache de Beaufort as commendatory abbot of Sept Fons. Influenced by his brother, general vicar in Paris, Dom Eustache invited his monks to follow the cistercian reformation. When he died, about 130 monks lived in this abbey.
Dom Sebastien had been abbot of the abbey of the “Mont des Cats” for only four years when, in 1887, he was elected abbot of Sept-Fons and General Vicar of the Congregation of Rancé. He accepted this new load, while remaining the superior Father of the Mont des Cats and administrator of the Catacombs.
In order to rectify finances of Sept-Fons, Dom Sebastien decided (probably between 1887 and 1890) to open a brewery, in the tradition of Tilburg and of the Belgian abbeys. While the first year was full of promises, it gradually became clear in the years that followed that this choice of industry was a failure in an area where the population was accustomed to drinking wine. In spite of a beer of quality (blond and brown of low fermentation), which was considered to be “perfect” by external brewers, its disproportionate capacity (40.000 hl) was a true financial pit for the community, which employed many laic people. The beers of the trappist fathers were sold in bottle, as testified by the label you can see on this page. Many times, they were able to won awards in prestigious competitions (gold medal at the exposition of french breweries, in Paris 1891, gold medal of the academy for science and arts in Brussels, grand diploma of honour of the international competition in Brussels, 1892).
However, the brewery of the abbey of Sept Fons knew a very short existence … it was sold in 1904 to a company named “Brewery of Sept Fons” and thus passed under the control of the breweries of “La Meuse”. The beers of the "Brewery of Sept Fons" won other awards in the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately, the company ceased production of its beers about 1935.