FAQs

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Who is the ITA?

The International Trappist Association (ITA) unites twenty Trappist abbeys throughout the world, monasteries in which Trappist monks and nuns produce a variety of products for sale. The association is non-profit. It is dedicated to assist the members of the ITA in the production of goods and in the pursuit of standards of excellence. The association also protects the brand name ‘Trappist®’ and the fundamental values it stands for, which underpin every Trappist product.

Who are the members of the ITA?

All abbeys who are members of the ITA belong to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. This order still follows the sixth-century Rule of Saint Benedict, and are guided and inspired by Cistercian spirituality.

What is the purpose of the ITA?

Through their industries, ITA members play a part their the wider market economy. The monastic values on which their production rests ensure the uniqueness of each individual product. The ITA takes care that member communities develop a good balance between their commercial goals and their spiritual heritage. It helps and supports them in this endeavour. It does this in the following ways:

  • by protecting the brand name Trappist® and the common economic interests of Trappist communities;
  • by providing reliable information about the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (OCSO);
  • by fostering cooperation between the abbeys;
  • by developing a network of solidarity and cooperation with other Trappist abbeys.

What is the protection of the Trappist® name?

To indicate the origin of their products, all the world’s Trappist monasteries may advertise their products using the brand name Trappist®. This also applies to yeast used in production. Abbeys that brew beer develop yeast especially for each Trappist® beer. There is, for instance, a Rochefort Trappist® yeast, an Orval Trappist® yeast, etc. The brand name ‘Trappist®’ is protected. Usage of the brand name Trappist® in other contexts should not be allowed to mislead anyone.

Authenticity of origin

The monastic life appeals to the imagination of many producers. The ITA therefore sees to it that the name Trappist® is not used improperly. Indeed, the ITA originated from a need to ensure such protection: the association was founded in 1998 to inform consumers unambiguously about the origin and authenticity of Trappist products.

May I brew a Trappist beer?

Only trappist abbeys can use the 'Trappiste®' mark. The Trappist appellation is first and foremost a certification of origin. It can never be used by another brewer. In addition, each Trappist beer produced by Trappist abbeys has a unique recipe and a unique yeast. There is therefore no brewing style that could justify making a comparable product.

What is the reference for a Trappist yeast?

To indicate the origin of their products, all the world’s Trappist monasteries may advertise their products using the brand name Trappist®. This also applies to yeast used in production. Abbeys that brew beer develop yeast especially for each Trappist® beer. There is, for instance, a Rochefort Trappist® yeast, an Orval Trappist® yeast, etc. The brand name ‘Trappist®’ is protected. Usage of the brand name Trappist® in other contexts should not be allowed to mislead anyone.

How is the ATP label assigned?

Only monastic communities that are members of the ITA can apply for an ATP label for their product.

 

Once the application has been made, what next?

Having submitted its application, and once the product has been on sale for some months, an abbey will follow this procedure:

 

  • The monastery compiles a dossier on the product. This dossier contains, among other things, a completed questionnaire which describes how the community is involved in work and management. It also provides information on methods of production, quality control, channels of distribution, and the structures and character of external communication.
  • Once the application has been received, a board member of the ITA and a member of the Quality Committee will visit the abbey and the production site, to ensure that the criteria for the label are met. They will carry out a quality audit and ensure the traceability of products.
  • The results of these investigations are first evaluated by the ITA Board of Directors, then in dialogue with the producing abbey.
  • The Board of Directors of the ITA will then vote on whether or not the label, ‘Authentic Trappist Product’, may be awarded to the product.

 

How long is the ATP label valid?

The ATP license is valid for five years and is issued either for a single product or for a category of products. The label not only certifies the Trappist origin of the product. It also provides consumers with a guarantee that the products sold correspond to the values and standards of quality of a living Trappist community.

What are the criteria for the ATP label?

To be able to use the label on one of its Trappist® products, the abbey submitting an application to the AIT must meet these three strict criteria:

  • All products must be made within the immediate surroundings of the abbey;
  • Production must be carried out under the supervision of the monks or nuns;
  • Profits should be intended for the needs of the monastic community, for purposes of solidarity within the Trappist Order, or for development projects and charitable works.

What is the difference between a Trappist product and a product with the ATP label.

Any product made in conjunction with a Trappist community is a Trappist® product. An abbey can go a step further and request the Authentic Trappist Product (ATP) label from the ITA. Only abbeys affiliated to the ITA may submit an application for the label. Some products produced by ITA members bear the exclusive, international label 'Authentic Trappist Product' (ATP). The most famous are the different Trappist® beers. But other products can also qualify for the label, from bread to cheese, liqueurs, and religious artefacts.

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