Saturday, December 17, 2016

Catholic church gets back into beer business in Czech Republic

Image result for Father Tadeas from the Canonry of PremonstratensiansThe Catholic church is producing brewed beer commercially inside a 12th century Zeliv monastery in a bid to attain self-sufficiency in Czech Republic.

Over the decades, the Catholic church's activities have been suppressed by the communist regime's atheist agenda as the church has been victim to seizures of its assets such as farmland, forests, art and buildings since the 1989 Velvet Revolution toppled the totalitarian rule.

But since 2012, as part of the grand restitution plan worth billions of dollars, the church has begun receiving compensation for its assets that were seized. And now, it's investing in everything from farming to financial markets. The land and other assets the church is getting back were valued at 75 billion koruna ($3.7 billion) in 2012.
In November, the church revealed figures about its new business activities for the first time. 

The church invested 1.2 billion koruna ($47 million) in 2015, mainly in farming, forestry, buildings, and financial products. It spent 1.1 billion koruna ($43 million) on church schools and the restoration of more than 6,500 historic buildings. It has so far put 940 million koruna ($37 million) in an investment fund that has generated a 4 percent yield.

The church also gets 59 billion koruna ($2.9 billion as of 2012) in financial compensation to be paid through 2043, and the state will gradually stop covering its expenses by 2030.

At Zeliv monastery, the church is making a safe bet through its brewing operations. Czech Republic has one of the highest worldwide average consumption of beer.

Production has been ramped up, and has increased almost ten-fold to reach 2,000 hectolitres a year. As of now, a small team of three brews four different kinds of craft beer with additional specialties created for Christmas, Easter and other holidays. 

The beers bear names of memorable local abbots, including the very first one, Godsalk, who took charge in 1149.

"It is a good promotion for us to have the beer here because it is a very popular drink in the Czech Republic. Sometimes we joke that it's a tool for evangelising," Father Tadeas from the Canonry of Premonstratensians, a Catholic order that came to Zeliv in the 12th century, was quoted as saying.

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