Finding Religion at the Great American Beer Festival

Beer and religion. Upon first look, it may seem as if they don’t have much in common (beyond, of course, the drunkard’s prayer: “God, I need a beer”). After all, in most churches, it’s wine that lubricates the services, not the sudsy stuff.

But USA Today hit last weekend’s Great American Beer Festival and noticed a trend: More and more brewers are using religious iconography to market their beers, perhaps a nod to the “legacy of beer-brewing monks.” From Texas’s Saint Arnold Brewery to California’s The Lost Abbey, from Russian River’s Damnation to He’Brew (the Chosen Beer) by Shmaltz, brewers aren’t afraid to inject a little religion into their marketing.

People seem to be responding. According to Saint Arnold’s Brock Wagner, “Some of our regulars say going on our brewery tour is going to church.”

And why not? As the article reminds us, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” noted Ben Franklin (possibly apocryphally).

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