From Seek. Pray. Share. magazine
By Greg Eckerle

St. Benedict’s Brew Works opened its doors and beer taps in October 2015 to a crowd of over 100 people on the grounds of the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand.

Located at 860 E. 10th St. in the Benedictine Sisters’ former art studio, St. Benedict’s Brew Works is believed to be the only U.S. craft brewery on the grounds of a women’s religious community.

In her blessing prior to the brewery’s ribbon-cutting, Sister Barbara Lynn Schmitz, prioress, said, “Today we gather to ask God’s blessing upon this new endeavor, Saint Benedict’s Brew Works. When we celebrate together and share a beer, we may offer a toast . . . In the Middle Ages, knights saluted one another, literally raising their visor and looking the other in the eye as a gesture of peace. When we offer a toast, we do the same . . . Peace and hospitality are two of the hallmarks of Benedictine spirituality. We ask God’s blessing upon this brewery, upon those who work here, and upon those who will visit. We pray that all who enter this space will be blessed with God’s peace and will share that peace with one another in a spirit of hospitality.”

Vince Luecke, a co-owner of the brewery with Andy Hedinger, told the crowd, “Thanks again to the Sisters of St. Benedict, who are wonderful women in all that they do. They’ve helped us throughout this entire year-long process, even last night, when we were in the throes of a last-minute cleaning, and here comes five or six sisters of various ages to help us, with brooms, and the whole cleaning process.”

Hedinger then said, “This is a dream realized for a long time. I can’t think of a better place to be than on the grounds of this monastery. It’s peaceful, it’s just absolutely beautiful. We thank all the sisters and everyone for coming out today. With that, we’ll say cheers to the sisters, cheers to the brewery, and the taps are open.”

The brewery’s menu, dubbed “The Daily Missal,” lists four beers: Cana Cream Ale, the lightest offering; The Abbess, a hefeweizen with banana and clove; Nuntoberfest, an ale brewed in honor of the sisters; and Sanctimonious Stout, brewed with lactose sugar and hints of chocolate and roasted coffee.

The brewery, whose slogan is “Pray-Work-Brew,” sells its small batch craft beers by the glass or in reusable growlers to take home. Some food service is planned, including pretzels and beer cheese made in the brewery. They eventually will have gourmet sandwiches. Gift items, including t-shirts, hoodies, and mugs, will be available.