Monks announce reduced chartreuse production for the sake of the planet

The Chartreuse monks, who make the herbal liqueur of the same name, have announced that they will limit production for religious and environmental reasons.

A 2023 letter to merchants said the Carthusian monks responsible for the distinctive French liqueur decided not to increase production volumes to meet rising demand, but instead to “limit production, to focus on her primary goal: protecting her monastic life and devoting time to solitude and prayer.”

The monks have no desire to increase production “beyond what they need to maintain their order,” the letter said.

Advertisement for Chartreuse liqueur in Country Life UK magazine, 1951. (Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty)

“Making millions of cases makes no sense in today’s environmental context and will have a very negative impact on the planet in the very short term,” the letter reads.

Because of this, the Monks have made the “strategic decision” to “allocate” all of their markets, including France, and will henceforth work exclusively “with our core and historical markets”.

“Basically, we want to do less, but better and longer,” the letter says.

According to, the decision to reduce production had been “quietly” taken as early as 2021, and a “growing chartreuse shortage was noticed by spirits enthusiasts throughout 2022”.

Since the coveted drink is now only sold under allocation, it is “much more difficult to find,” the website continues.

File/26. December 1953 / Brother Laurent, a Carthusian friar, mixes the ingredients for the famous Chartreuse liqueur in a factory near the monastery of Grande Chartreuse in Dauphine, south-eastern France. (Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Available in green and yellow versions, which differ in taste and alcohol content, Chartreuse has been made by the Carthusian monks since 1737, according to a secret recipe recorded in a manuscript by François Annibal d’Estrées in 1605.

To date, the recipe is known to only two monks at a time.

The liqueur was named after the monastic monastery of Grande Chartreuse, located in the Chartreuse Mountains north of Grenoble. Today, the liqueur is made at their distillery in nearby Aiguenoire and is made from distilled alcohol aged with 130 botanicals, bark, roots, spices and flowers.

The color chartreuse takes its name from the legendary 110 proof liqueur.

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