Tourists in Belgium can't seem to get enough of the beer there - and they're pretty big fans of the glasses it comes in too.

It seems that the more beer some tourists drink, the lighter their fingers get and a lot of beer glasses, despite not being included in the price of the beer, are getting the five-finger discount.

Bars all over the country have been trying to fight beer glass theft, in whatever way they can, as thousands of glasses disappear every year.

In Bruges, Philip Maes, owner of the Bruges Beerwall cafe, told the Guardian he has lost "at least 4000 every year".

"The tourists liked to walk with them. For some reason, some customers think that when they pay for something to drink, they get the glass as a present," he said.


The bar owner has resorted to high-tech security alarms attached to the stem of each of the glasses, an expensive solution to an even more expensive problem.

"Such an alarm system does indeed cost €4000 [$6700]. But we already had a large part of it because we have a beer store. There was already a scanner at the exit and the cafe is a part of the business," he explained.

Although pricey, it's far from being the most creative way to curb the thefts.

In Ghent, the Dulle Griet bar, which offers 500 types of beer (quick, add it to your bucket list), has adopted a cheaper approach: "Anyone who drinks our house beer must hand over his shoe," Alex Devriendt told the Belgian newspaper the Nieuwsblad.

"We then put them in a basket that we pull up against the ceiling. The basket has now become an attraction, but for us it remains a guarantee."

Glasses at the bar are quite expensive, Devriendt explainsd, as they have them made especially.

"We have to supplement our inventory every day. Tourists simply want a souvenir. Some even try to throw those old-fashioned billboards off my wall. Certainly in the winter a lot disappear - [patrons] have thick coats on. In the summer they can hide the loot less well."