This is the world first beer pipeline and its thousands of investors are being rewarded with free beer

Enough beer to fill 12,000 bottles an hour flows in a pipeline below the 1,200-year-old city of Bruges, Belgium.

The 3km pipeline connects De Halve Maan brewery in the city’s historic centre to a bottling plant in the suburbs.

More than €300,000 (R4.8 million) out of the project’s €4 million (R64 million) cost was financed through a crowdfunding campaign, the largest in Belgium’s history.

“Everyone always thought, ‘it’s a dream, it’s a joke, it is something that is not realisable at all,’” De Halve Maan brewery director Xavier Vanneste told the Guardian.

The pipeline is a practical solution to the logistical nightmare of having trucks thundering daily through the narrow medieval cobbled streets of the town.

The last truck left old Bruges, a Unesco World Heritage Site, in September 2017, when the pipeline came online.

It was inspired when Vanneste saw workmen laying broadband cables outside his house.

“When I started talking to those guys, I realised it was possible, it was feasible.”