Daily labour

“The Trappists choose to eat plain meals, which is why they don’t eat meat.”

The monks of Westmalle have traditionally been self-sufficient through their own manual labour and by selling their produce. This is why there is a bakery, a farm, a cheese workshop and a brewery within the abbey walls.

Crops were grown on the abbey farm but the monks have focused only on cattle breeding since 1932. The large cow barn is geared towards milk production. The Trappists’ daily diet is high in dairy as they don’t eat meat, which is considered too luxurious. Most of the milk is used by the monks to make Trappist cheese in the cheese workshop and the remainder is sold to a local dairy. 

The Trappist brewery

“This daily work results in a range of delicious Trappist products.”

Like all Belgian Trappist abbeys, Westmalle also has a brewery within its walls. The monks are responsible for brewery management while brewing and other work is entrusted to employees from outside the abbey.  

This daily work results in a range of delicious Trappist products that are enjoyed by the monks as well as by the wider community. Most sales of these products are on a small scale, designed only to sustain the monks. The cheese is sold at the gate or in a number of selected outlets (buy Westmalle cheese). The Trappist beer is distributed more widely (find Westmalle on tap) via the hospitality and catering industries, through drinks stores and wholesalers.

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