Vina, CA – Beer sales generated by a special edition ale have helped rebuild a monastery in a small Sacramento Valley town.
Monks in the Northern California town of Vina partnered with the folks at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company to produce a series of ales under the name Ovila Abbey. The brews was inspired by the Trappist monks whose monastery the beer sales ultimately helped rebuild.
According to The Associated Press, newspaper titan William Randolph Hearst bought the Santa Maria de Ovila back in the 1930s. He imported the structure all the way from Spain to California in hopes of building an estate. However, Hearst’s plans never came to fruition.
At one point, parts of the structure were going to be used to build swimming pools and changing rooms. The monks said Hearst had originally planned to put a diving board where the altar used to sit.
The pieces of the monastery were later donated to the city of San Francisco. The parts remained at Golden Gate Park until Father Thomas X. Davis, founder of the Vina abbey, discovered them in 1955.
After receiving the pieces from the city, Davis set out to rebuild the Trappist monastery in Vina. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the restoration would cost the monks around $7 million to complete. Since they didn’t have that sort of money just lying around, a partnership with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was soon born.
Since releasing the Ovila Abbey ale in 2010, the Vina monks said beer sales have helped rebuild the Chapter House of Ovila. However, an additional $2 million is currently needed to put the finishing touches on the monastery.
Father Paul Mark Schwan said that he hopes it doesn’t take another 12 years to raise the necessary funds to completely rebuild the monastery. Of course, sales from the Ovila Abbey lines of beers might help the Vina monks reach their goal sooner than they anticipate.