A Santa Cruz church has a fresh idea to bring in more members and raise money for charity: they’re going to turn part of their church into a brewery. California’s Greater Purpose Community Church has started construction to transform an old bookstore into a house of worship and beer.

Pastor Chris VanHall told NBC that the church was looking for a way to make a product and split the profits with local community service organizations. “We love beer; we love making beer; why not do a brewery?”

It’s possible the church was inspired by the Trappist monasteries in France and Belgium where monks brew their own beer in order to support themselves financially and give back to the community. Either way, VanHall hopes churchgoers will be able to enjoy a beer or two while they “listen to a progressive take on theology but can also engage in conversation.”

The church plans to host regular Sunday morning services for members, and then open up afterward to the public. “We don’t want to dupe anyone, we don’t want to have this bar, and say ‘ok come on in’ and boom you get a church service,” said VanHall. “We don’t want that.”

The new building is under construction now and should be ready for business in about a year, just in time for summer. The church plans to donate 30-60% of profits from the beer to local charities.

Craft brewing has exploded in popularity across the west coast over the past several years. Breweries will often partner with local businesses to create exclusive beers. The last Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon even got its own signature brew thanks to a local brewery.


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