For the Love of God and Beer

For most folks, particularly those living in the Bible Belt, the concepts of God and beer don't really mesh all that well. However, it was not always so. In fact, it is largely due to catholic monasteries that we have beer as we know it at all. There are still a number of abbeys around the world that brew their own beer, and lend their name to others. Consider Grimbergen, for example. Grimbergen has had their own recipe for a very long time. From 1958 to 2008, it was brewed by Alken-Maes, until that firm was taken over. In 2008, Carlsberg began brewing and producing Grimbergen's beer.

The abbey has a very solid relationship with the beer brewer, too. They recently sent Erik de Sutter and Father Karel Stautemas to Canada, in order to tout their beer. For the abbey, the partnership with monolithic Carlsberg is a very important thing. In exchange for the use of their name and the image of the abbey, Carlsberg pays the abbey licensing fees. These fees are responsible for keeping the abbey in one piece – it's a historical abbey built in 1128, and the ancient stones tend to crumble over time. With the money from the beer sales, the abbey is able to repair their buildings. It is also used to fund good works in the community.

Of course, not everyone is onboard with using God's name to market beer. For some, most notably Protestants who take a dim view of alcohol in general, it's blasphemous. That doesn't seem to be a problem with secular people and with those outside the Protestant fold, though. In reality, religion and secular companies have merged before. Consider the number of religious cable networks out there – they make money for airing commercials, not all of which are strictly "holy." However, the funding from those commercials allows the networks to share their programming with their viewers. 

For those concerned that the priests at Grimbergen are being used by a corporate behemoth, those fears should be put to rest. The priests are actually rather savvy businessmen, and know how to pick and choose their allies wisely. They also keep a few things written down for legal needs just in case, but they do prefer to talk things out. Currently, Grimbergen beers include a Dubble, Tripel, Optimo Bruno, Cuvee de l'Ermitage, Grimbergen Gold and standard blond beer options, most of which are available worldwide.

For most folks, particularly those living in the Bible Belt, the concepts of God and beer don't really mesh all that well. However, it was not always so. In fact, it is largely due to catholic monasteries that we have beer as we know it at all. There are still a number of abbeys around the world that brew their own beer, and lend their name to others.

Posted on March 5, 2011 and filed under Facts & History.