Who among us has not, at some point, wished for a pipeline of beer running directly to our house? And if not beer, maybe something else you wished to consume in alarming volume: chocolate milk, soda, gravy, mashed potatoes, fancy flavored sparkling water, that powder that's in Pixy Stix. But this article is about a beer pipeline — fantasize about that other stuff on your own time.
It turns out that the concertgoers of the Wacken Open Air Festival, the world's biggest outdoor heavy metal music festival, really love beer. Like, a lot. The annual festival takes place in Wacken, Germany, and welcomes around 75,000 metalheads from all over the world. Over the course of the three-day festival, the next installment of which is coming up in August, each one of these rockers is estimated to drink an average 1.3 gallons (5.1 liters) of beer, or a little less than 14 standard-issue cans of beer. Keeping up enough supply to satisfy this crowd has been a challenge since the festival launched in 1990.
The issue is that beer trucks at Wacken pose a problem: A full, standard-sized keg of beer weighs about 160 pounds (73 kilograms), and the festival-goers guzzle about 10,000 kegs each year. All told, that's 800 tons (730 metric tons) of beer. All this keg-hauling tears up the festival grounds, which are normally agricultural fields, and creates unnecessary traffic in the process.
But let it not be said metal fans aren't a solution-minded people. The event organizers decided to build a pipeline 4 miles (7 kilometers) in length and 14 inches (35 centimeters) in width to pump the beer to the thirsty Megadeth, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson fans — conveniently laying fiber optic cable as well as drinking water and wastewater pipes in the same trench during the infrastructure project.
"Of course we will control the hygiene of the tubes all the time," say the Wacken organizers on the festival website.
But the bottom line is, they're promising the new pipeline will have enough pressure to allow bartenders to pour six beers in six seconds. The Wacken infrastructure is now complete — rock on, rockers!