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Beer with a Catholic soul and a mission of prayer

BIERES-FERME-DES-VILLETTES

Ferme des Villettes

Les bières missionnaires de la ferme des Villettes.

Agnès Pinard Legry - published on 06/11/24

Anne-Claire and Philippe Plu, farmers in the center of France, are also Catholic. Their beer has saints on the labels and an invitation to pray before drinking.

Drinking a bottle of beer at the end of the day, as the sun sets, surrounded by loved ones, is definitely one of those little pleasures that give life its full flavor. “God made beer because he loves us and wants us to be happy,” Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying (although he was actually referring to wine). And he couldn’t have been more right!

At the Villettes farm in the Loir-et-Cher region of France, Anne-Claire and Philippe Plu could have made that their motto. “We used to sell our malting barley for other beer brands, including Heineken and 1664,” Anne-Claire tells Aleteia. But then, being both farmers and Catholics, they embarked on their hops-and-missionary adventure at the end of 2021.

In the early days, they simply decided to make beer themselves. But something was missing. “We put our project in the hands of the Lord. I remember hearing in my heart after going to communion: ‘I want you to bring me into the home of all families,’” she recalls.

«When the beer leaves the farm, it’s already covered with graces!»

A mission

So she came up with the idea of giving her beers a little extra soul with beautiful labels. “I wanted there to be a beautiful design on the label, something that would draw the soul in.” Anne-Claire got in touch with illustrator Madeleine Riveron of the Petit Page studio, who embarked on the project.

And what a project it was: it wasn’t just about a beautiful label in front of the eyes, but a mission. “I’m convinced that France will rise again through prayer,” she says. “When I hand-glue the labels, I pray for the person who is going to buy the bottle, for the person to whom it will be offered if that is the case, and for those who are going to drink it. I pray for them and their families. When I’ve been labeling for four hours, I’ve been praying for four hours.” She concludes with a smile, “When the beer leaves the farm it’s already covered with graces!”

bieres-missionnaires-ferme-des-villettes
Villettes beer with labels bearing prayer intentions: on the left, the Sacred Heart and the prayer intention “for the courage to go to confession”; on the right, St. Anne, with the prayer intention “for grandparents”

Prayer intentions

Sold only in abbeys, monasteries, or directly on their farm, the beers are bought by people aware of their mission: when they buy the beer, they also commit to praying in turn for the people to whom it will be given, or for an intention of their own if it’s for their personal consumption.

And for those lacking inspiration, don’t panic: a special intention accompanies each bottle, written on the label below the drawing. Each reads something like, “A beer, a prayer—for the courage to go to confession,” or “for grandparents,” or something similar. A total of 8,000 bottles are sold each year. “It’s a deeply missionary project,” says Anne-Claire. “Now I can say to the Lord: ‘That’s it, I’ve let you into the house!’”

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