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You can now add Blasphemer to my list of accomplishments!

With apologies to those who have been reading my short blogs of late, this one is going to lack the brevity but hopefully it will be worth it.

Three weeks ago while attending the Great American Beer Festival, I was interviewed by Erik Gorski of the Associated Press. He was writing an article on Religion and Beer. It was published on October 16, 2008 under the title “Finding God at a beer festival.” In the two weeks since it was printed, this piece has been reprinted more times then Declaration of Independence. Perhaps you’ve seen the article? If not, here is the link. We got ample coverage in the article including the all important opening salvo. All told, it was a homerun for The Lost Abbey.

Which brings me to my blog today. Four years ago when we were in the developmental phase for The Lost Abbey, I lead a discussion with Vince, Gina and Jim that discussed the merits and difficulties of a Religious based thematic emphasis for our brand. At that time, I let them know I expected we would upset more than a few people along the way. Frankly, I’m surprised it took so long for this to happen. But it finally happened. This morning in the Worthington Daily Globe (that’s Worthington, Minnesota) a letter from The Rev. Jim Sickmeyer, Pastor of the Worthington Baptist Temple was printed in the paper. Here’s the link to the article. Since I have been waiting over four years to be attacked by the Religious Right, I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

Today was a monumental day. I joined the rank and file of those who fire missives to the editor of newspapers. Here is my letter to the editor. Let’s hope they publish it…

This morning, I received a link to a letter written by The Rev. Jim Sickmeyer Pastor, Worthington Baptist Temple, Worthington Daily Globe. It merited comments. My name is Tomme Arthur and I am one of the Owners and Director of Brewery Operations for The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, CA. We at the Lost Abbey would like to thank The Rev. Jim Sickmeyer for noting our business is rooted in Blasphemy. Unfortunately Reverend, our opinion of The Lost Abbey Brewery is seemingly more positive than your cursory review of our operations based on a newspaper article. But, we’re not here to make apologies for our myopia.

However, we at The Lost Abbey are in the business of producing “Inspired beers for Sinners and Saints alike. Like you, we believe our lives began under the doctrine of free will allowing us the opportunity to make choices for ourselves. We view the production of an alcoholic beverage is something worthy of our time and attention. And our God agrees with us.

In your letter, you have quoted scripture in numerous contexts. Each of these passages speaks not to the consumption of alcohol in moderation only overindulgence. As members of the Brewers Association located in Boulder, CO. we endorse and support their mantra ‘Savor the Flavor Responsibly.” Certainly, excess consumption of any alcoholic beverage can lead to serious problems at home. However, to blithely state “Alcohol has destroyed more lives and ruined more marriages and families than most other issues, and then quote traffic statistics from the NHTSA is Non sequitur at best.

Perhaps you hit the nail squarely on the head when you assert, “isn’t it amazing how alcohol brings out the hypocrisy in society?” We couldn’t agree with you more as your arguments invoke a seemingly intolerant God who blasts away from heaven at the drinkers below. While it may seem incredulous to you, our production of an alcoholic beverage is neither illegal nor illicit. As such, we will continue our morally repugnant practice of turning malted barley into beer. We at The Lost Abbey are operating a World Class Brewery and believe that using religious themes and contexts to frame our beers is neither blasphemous nor morally indignant.

I attended Catholic grade school and high school here in San Diego at St. Augustine High School. I have read my fair share of the bible and understand the ethos of moderation and the spiritual importance of wine as it relates to Christian Doctrines. From the first Miracle at Cana to the Last Supper, wine was a part of rituals and miracles. I’m not one to quote scripture as most Blasphemers are apt to do. But as a sinner, I much prefer ” a feast is made for laughter and wine makes us merry.” (Ecclesiastes 10:19)

I’m Tomme Arthur and I approve this message.

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