The Italian Abbey of Monte Cassino, located on a rocky hill located half way between Rome and Naples, which was totally destroyed in world war II by allied troops and had to stop brewing beer, will soon resume production. The monks have signed a contract with Birra Peroni, one of Italy’s leading brewers, which belongs since 2016 to Asahi Group Holdings (inside.beer, 11.10.2016).
The beer will be named after their founder St. Benedict and will be brewed nearby the monastery in a little artisanal factory in the town of Albaneta, where the abbey has a farm with 700 acres of land. The land was used until the 1980s for growing vegetables and as pastures for livestock destined to feed the community of monks but had lain idle for more than thirty years. In December last year the land had been cultivated with malting barley, which will be harvested in these days.
Federico Sannella, Corporate Affairs Director at Birra Peroni - Asahi Europe, said “The project for the redevelopment of the land in Albaneta reinstates a world, a philosophy, a way of thinking and acting that brings a beer back to the tables of Italians that unites the generations in the sign of quality, history and tradition.” He also added that it is a “privilege” for his company to “add even more value to an area so rich in history and culture.”
The abbey of Monte Cassino was founded in 529 AD by Saint Benedict of Nursia and is considered to be the birthplace of the Benedictine order. During World War II the American and British intelligence erroneously suspected German artillery units were utilizing the abbey as an observation post and completely destroyed it in a series of heavy air raids on 15 February 1944. In the following twenty years the buildings were totally reconstructed and the abbey's artifacts, library archives and documents, which were safe-kept at the Vatican City in Rome on behalf of German and Austrian officers were brought back to Monte Cassino. However production of beer was not resumed until today.
In the verge of a renaissance of abbey and specialty beers however, the monks now wanted to revive the rich history of its beers and requested assistance from the professional brewers of Peroni. With their help, the first beer, which is brewed according to an ancient recipe with a 6.5% alcohol content is expected to be sold around October.