Friday, June 6, 2008

A Patron Saint for Budweiser

No, I'm not kidding. When you hear that there's a saint for everything - well, there really is! This is a great old holy card from France. It was printed by the Aiguebelle Chocolate Company, and is one of a series that was handed out in their chocolate bars. That's right ~ a series of collector's cards of the saints for kids that was handed out with chocolate!

Who came up with this idea? Well, it probably had something to do with the fact that Aiguebelle Choclate was run by a group of monks who hit upon the idea of selling chocolate as a money-maker after the French Revolution. They gave out all kinds of collectors cards: dinosaurs, seashells, "The World of Mammals", crustaceans, famous composers, and on and on. No beanie babies or Hannah Montana toys with your happy meals when the monks are in charge!

But think about it... remember Willy Wonka? He gave out 5 golden tickets in his chocolate bars that allowed the luck winners to tour his amazing candy factory. Getting a saint card in your bar of chocolate and then being inspired to emulate his or her life would be like winning a REAL golden ticket that could help you get into the most wonderful place ever ~ heaven!

But I digress from St. Arnold. Why is St. Arnold the patron saint of brewers? Well, St Arnold lived in the 7th century. A time when people literally drank beer like water! This was because water at that time was really unsafe to drink. If there were people around, you could be pretty sure that they were using the water supply as their privy, washing area, and livestock cooler. Yuck. St Arnold encouraged people to drink beer instead of water because it was healthier. One story claims that he dipped his cross into a vat of beer, blessing it and making it safe to drink, ending an outbreak of illness in the town. Actually, since beer is brewed over heat, the increased temperature killed much of the bacteria that was present in the drink. He brewed beer at his monastery in Metz, France and is suppose to have said "From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world."

St Arnold is not shown carrying a crozier (bishop's staff) or cross ~ instead he holds a mashing rake, one of the instruments used in the making of beer. Next time you go to the grocery store to buy a six-pack, why not celebrate this great saint by checking to see if they carry beer from the St Arnold Brewing Company! Then lift a glass (in moderation, of course) and drink to the memory of this great saint.

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