FERDINAND, INDIANA — It’s opening day for a new Dubois County Brewery and it has been a huge success.
“We’ve got empty kegs, which is a good sign,” Vince Luecke, the co-owner of the new St. Benedict’s Brew Works, said.
The taps have been flowing and the new craft beer has been a hit with the patrons.
“It’s delicious, very palatable, not a lot of effervescence, not a lot of fizz to it, so it was perfect for a lightweight like I am,” Louisville native Laura Chipe said.
It’s just another day at the monastery, more specifically, the grounds of the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana. St. Benedict’s Brew Works is the first beer-brewing operation on the grounds of a women’s monastery, according to Luecke.
“We can encourage everyone to come out and certainly to visit the brewery, but also to learn more about the sisters and their work here,” he said.
This relationship between monastic life and beer brewing is not exactly a new concept.
“For over a thousand years, monks, primarily men, would brew beer both for their fellow monks, both for their internal use,” Luecke said. “They also sold beer as a way to generate revenue for the religious community.”
“It’s not a brand new thing for monastic communities to have a brewery there on their grounds,” Sister Teresa Gunter, one of the Sisters of St. Benedict, said.
In fact, there are three other breweries in the country that operate on monastery property. One is in Bardstown, Kentucky, near Louisville, where Chipe is from.
“We’re pretty accustomed to the monastery producing delicious products like this beer,” she said.
Chipe, who is in Ferdinand with her friends on a spiritual retreat, said they are fans of both the brewery’s beverages and its slogan – Pray, Work, Brew.
“We’re even considering making this our theme for next year – Pray, Work and Brew,” she said, laughing. “We’re going to find a way to fit that in!”
“There’s a motto for Benedicts, it’s called “ora et labora” – prayers and work,” Gunter said. “So when you’ve got prayers, work and brew, I think it’s just a great tagline.”
A great tagline – a reminder of the sister’s faith, their work and their reason to celebrate with a little brew.