Franciscan Monks Begin Producing Craft Beer in Zagreb!

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac/Matea Grbac writes on the 26th of August, 2019, a group of Franciscan monks have decided to dip their feet into the increasingly popular world of craft beer in Zagreb, and their income isn’t going to be wasted selflessly…

”Back during my stay as a student in Germany I dreamed of producing monastery beer. It was a long time before I received 95 percent approval from my brothers for this venture,” remembers the friar of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Zagreb, Tomislav Glavnik, who was behind the idea of ​​one of the first monastery craft beers in Croatia – S.anto.

Although the production of this beer by the Franciscans is not unusual in itself, as example some of the world’s best craft beers come from Belgian monasteries, this practice is still extremely foreign to Croatia.

About three months ago, Tomislav Glavnik and his brothers presented their new beer to the public, namely on the St. Anthony of Padua holiday. During its initial presentation, he revealed that they wanted to create another added value to their one hundred-year-old monastery, and decided to start a separate company for the purpose of no less than beer commercialisation.

”We want to be an example to others, to do everything transparently and in accordance with the law. Like any other limited liability company, we regularly pay all state and tax levies,” he pointed out.

This is not the only business that these Franciscans have. Within their home, they grow grapes from which they produce wine for their own use. In addition, there is a small garden, the fruits of which are served in the public kitchen, while the attic of the same building was transformed into rooms for students from less wealthy backgrounds.

”We have a lot of things here, we hope to build a dormitory consisting of about sixty rooms soon. We want to direct the beer sales income to our public kitchen, but also to students and student scholarships,” he added.

As he explained to Novac, their goal was never to make a profit. Although the beer is currently being produced and bottled by one craft brewery in the Zagreb area, they plan to start their own plant in a couple of years or so, which will employ several staff members who will be dedicated to the further development of the project, with the close supervision of the monastery, of course.

Although their new job is only in its very infancy and they have produced only 12,600 litres of beer so far, Fr. Glavnik adds with a smirk that their accountant has already told them that they are pretty good entrepreneurs because they are already at zero.

S.anto beer, which is described as good, drinkable, but nothing special, is intended for everyone, and is for the time being only sold in their parish in 0.3 bottles at a price of 14 kuna. In a few days, they will start expanding their market, so that their product can be found in one of Split’s bars, as well as in Novalja and in Šibenik.

First of all, they want to set up their own shop where the business of selling beer and glasses with the beer’s logo.

”For centuries, friars around the world have been producing wine, beer, cheese, honey and many other products, I see no reason why we can’t do the same here in Croatia,” he concluded.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia page for much more.


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