Monasteries | Scourmont Lez Chimay (B)
Abbaye N. D. de Scourmont
Bières de Chimay et Fromages de Chimay
During the summer of 1850, a small group of monks settled on the wild plateau of Scourmont, near Chimay.
They worked hard, building a Cistercian abbey and gradually transforming the arid soil in the region into fertile agricultural land.
A farm, a brewery and a cheese plant were established around the monastery.
BIERES DE CHIMAY
CHIMAY'S TRAPPIST BREWERY, A DYNAMIC COMPANY WITH A SOCIAL AND HUMAN CALLING
In 1862, the monks of Chimay brewed their first beer, known today as ‘Première’ (75 cl), observing the monastic traditions of natural development and high fermentation followed by a second fermentation in the bottle.
Scourmont Abbey has developed a range of economic activities which have increased regional employment.
With the statutes of an anonymous partnership, “Chimay Beers” is exemplary as a dynamic venture giving priority to its social calling, stemming from the traditions and the Rule followed in Trappist monasteries. This special situation is advantageous for social works and ensures the socio-economic development of the area. This same spirit is also characteristic of the internal relations within the business, coloring them with a special human quality. Responsibilities and expertise are shared by monks and lay persons alike and “Chimay Beers” is able to offer work to 95 persons.
The remarkable accomplishments which this business venture has achieved in the market for special beers are due to the quality and authenticity of its products. Besides being deeply rooted in the collective consciousness of Belgium, “Chimay” also functions as a characterful ambassador for this pre-eminent beer nation – 50% of the total production of “Chimay Beers” is exported.
The partnership was formed by the monastic community of Scourmont in Chimay and the brothers hold all the shares. Due to the success of their products and because of their fundamental objective to safeguard the monastic atmosphere of peace and silence, essential for their spiritual life, the monks have established “The Chimay-Wartoise Foundation,” a non-profit philanthropic foundation, to which they have entrusted the ownership of the stock of their economic enterprises, as well as the task of carrying out the abbey's social programs in their local area. The “Chimay” trademark will always belong to the monastic community; however, all the profits from this trademark support activities for regional development which are under the direction of “The Chimay-Wartoise Foundation,” as well as the extensive humanitarian and charitable activities in Belgium and throughout the world, especially in Africa, which are directed by the abbey itself, through its non-profit “Solidarité Cistercienne.” The bottling area, the shipping department and the business offices have also been moved a few kilometers away from the monastic enclosure in order to safeguard the silence in and around the monastery itself. The brewing process itself, however, still takes place under the supervision of the monks, within the buildings of the monastery itself.
The business policies of “Chimay Beers” are founded on three basic principles: the social valorization of the employees by involving them in company projects, the quality of the human relations within the company, and a concern to remain strongly rooted in the local area. In practice, this means that “Chimay Beers” invests in environmentally friendly technologies and that they offer their 95 employees a wide range of training opportunities.
In 1850, a small group of monks from Westvleteren Abbey came to settle in Chimay and built themselves the Scourmont Abbey. Although the land was barren, the monks set about making it fertile and in 1862, after procuring 50 pure Friesian cattle, the monks began to produce butter.
In 1876, Brother Benoît went to France to learn how te make cheese with a semi-firm consistency: Chimay 'trappist' cheese was born!
The facilities then began to be modernised, production increased and sales developed an on a much larger scale. Having obtaines BRC (British Retail Consortium) leven 'A'certification in November 2007, the modern production unit is still committed today to producing the cheeses of Chimay according to the principles of quality and authenticity which are so dear to the monks of Scourmont.
An important part of the profits made through the commercial activities of the Abbey are directed towards the establishment of social undertakings.
The cheeses of Chimay are exclusively produced using milk from the region and traditional methods. They are mostly sold in Belgium, but are also exported to France, the USA, the Netherlands, Scandinavia...
In 2008 Chimay Cheeses employs 32 people and produces 900 tons of cheese annually. 250 local dairy farms, which together form the “Coferme” cooperative, provide the milk.
Chimay Cheese is an authentic Trappist cheese. It is produced in the immediate vicinity of Scourmont Abbey, with the community of Trappist monks being responsible for quality control during the production process. Most of the profits are allocated to social assistance.