In 1132, Notre Dame de Saint-Lieu was founded in Sept-Fons in Bourbonnais, by the Abbey of Fontenay, the second foundation of Saint Bernard.
For centuries in Sept-Fons, the life of the monks was regular and radiant. Then slowly the fervor subsided, and the need for energetic reform was felt.
The Abbey was falling into ruin and becoming depopulated when, in 1656, Dom Eustache de Beaufort was appointed Abbot of Sept-Fons. He was only 20 years old and then seemed more attracted by the splendors of the Court than by the austerities of monastic life.
The new Abbot took possession of his monastery in 1661. Less than two years later, he converted to regular life and began his reform eight months before that undertaken at the Abbey of La Trappe, in Normandy.
Under the firm direction of Dom Eustache de Beaufort, Sept-Fons once again saw growth and fervor reborn, and throughout the 18th century until the Revolution experienced one of its finest periods. At his death, the abbey of Sept-Fons had 130 monks and novices.
In 1791, the monks were expelled. The Abbey was sold as "national property." The monks experienced a long exodus: in 1791, it was the convent of Valsainte, in Switzerland; then in 1795 the monastery of Darfeld, in the south of Germany. Finally in 1816, after the fall of the Empire, they returned to France and the installation at the Abbey of Gard, in the diocese of Amiens.
Later, Dom Stanislas Lapierre, Abbot of Gard, succeeded in buying Sept-Fons and transporting his community there. In 1845, monastic life thus resumed in the Bourbonnaise Abbey, and since then has never ceased.
Dom Sébastien had been abbot of Mont des Cats for only four years when in 1887 he was elected abbot of Sept-Fons.
In order to restore the finances of Sept-Fons, Dom Sébastien quickly decided (between 1887 and 1890) to open a brewery, in the tradition of Tilburg and the Belgian abbeys.
If the first year was full of promises, the following years gradually revealed that the choice of industry was a failure in this region where the population was more used to drinking wine.
The beer was of high quality (blond and dark, low fermentation) and deemed "perfect" by outside brewers, but its disproportionate capacity (40,000 hl) was a real financial pit for the community which employed many lay people.
The beers of the Trappist fathers were sold in bottles, and they were awarded several prestigious prizes.
The beer won medals in several competitions (gold medal at the exhibition of French breweries in Paris in 1891, gold medal of the Academy of Sciences and Industrial Arts in Brussels, and Grand Diploma of Honor of the international competition of Brussels in 1892), which confirmed the high taste quality they offered. The brewer's father was named Jules Défossez.
However, the brewery of the abbey of Sept-Fons had a fairly short existence ... it was sold in 1904 to a limited company called "Brasserie de Sept Fons" and thus came under the control of the breweries of the Meuse. The beer of SeptFons won again, afterwards, distinctions in significant competitions. The limited company producing this beer would unfortunately cease all production around 1938.