Is there such a thing as patron saints of beer? Yes! More precisely, patron saints of the brewers who brew the beer. Check out the below article from BeerHistory.com:
How did important religious personages become the patron saints of suds? The bishops of brewers? The apostles of ale? Both universal and local Saints have reportedly performed miracles, either during their lives or afterwards, that involved the working class people and beer. Other saints were designated because they represent beer producing and consuming regions.
Centuries ago beer was the daily drink of the people, both because plain water was often polluted and due to beer’s inexpensive, nourishing qualities. Monks brewed beer for themselves as a safe source of hearty sustenance. Monk’s meals were frugal at best, particularly during fast periods. However, consumption of liquids did not break the fast.
Without widespread hotel chains, monasteries served as inn’s for travelers who shared the monk’s provisions, especially their robust, sustaining beers. Eventually, the monk’s were able to also sell their beers at pubs called klosterschenken, and a flourishing trade developed. To build brand loyalty, the names of the monastery’s patron saint was used. To this day many beers bear the name of a saint.
The procedure which the church uses to name a saint, called canonization, has only operated since the tenth century. Prior to that, since the first century, saints were chosen by public acclaim. While this may have been fairer to the general public, it included information that was both legend or fictitious, and eventually the Vatican assumed the authority for approving saints.
Among the patron saints of brewers, four are extremely well known: Augustine of Hippo, Luke the Apostle, Nicholas of Myra (also known as Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus) and the Good King Wenceslas, the latter two also providing a linkage to the winter season of merriment.
Continue reading Saints of Suds (“When The Saints Go Malting In”)