The monastic brewery inside the Monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy, was destroyed on October 30 during the country’s largest earthquake in decades.
The brewery, which was bottled under the name Birra Nursia, was run by an international group of Catholic monks, many of whom were American. Birra Nursia opened in 2000 with an official inauguration by the Catholic Church. Before the earthquake, the brewery was producing 3,000, 25-ounce bottles of Belgian Blonde Ale and Belgian Dark Ale.
“We’ve sold out our inventory pretty much since day one,” Father Benedict Nivakoff, one of the monastery men and a brewery, told the Catholic News Agency in June. “We had to expand our plant after a year.”
The beer has been shipped to America since March.
More than 15,000 people were displaced from the 6.6-magnitude earthquake, CNN reports. It comes after a large earthquake in August that killed nearly 300 people and a number of tremors in late October. Thankfully no one was killed in the latest earthquake, although the damage to historic buildings was significant.
Only the front facade of the Monastery of St. Benedict, known locally as San Benedetto basilica, withstood the earthquake. The monks were nearly a mile away in another monastery that they moved to after the earthquake in August, The Guardian reports.
“This morning, around 7:40, a massive earthquake struck the area near Norcia,” the monks write in a statement. “We monks are all fine, but our hearts go now to those affected, and the monks of the monastery trying to figure out if someone is in need of extreme unction.”
There’s no word on whether the monks will continue to brew Birra Nursia in the future. For now, the monks’ focus is on helping the people impacted by the earthquake.
“The Basilica of St. Benedict, the historic church built over St. Benedict the house, collapsed as a result of these shocks,” the monks write. “That this serves to illustrate the power of the earthquake, and the urgency that we feel monks in going to the aid of those in need of the Sacraments in this difficult day for Italy.”