Philly Prepares for Pope Francis by Stocking Up on Holy Water — And By ‘Holy Water,’ We Mean ‘Beer’

popefrancisAs Pope Francis touches down in Philadelphia, thousands will be flocking to the streets to see His Holiness in one of the most historic U.S. papal visits to date.

Other people will be celebrating in a different way: visiting the local pub and grabbing a cold pint of pope-inspired beer.

It’s pretty fitting that America would celebrate such a monumental visit from the pope with beer; according to a recent article from, the relationship between popes and brews goes back thousands of years to when European monasteries were solely in charge of brewing.

These days, the brewing industry is a little bit bigger. The American craft beer market to date is worth around $19.6 billion, and almost half of U.S. young adults (ages 18 to 34) prefer beer over any other alcoholic drink.

The Associated Press reported recently that the Philadelphia Brewing Company created a limited-time beer called Holy Wooder, inspired by Pope Francis’s visit to the City of Brotherly Love. The beer’s name is a play on words of the well-known phrase “holy water,” and the label portrays Pope Francis raising a goblet of another kind of holy water while looking mighty pleased to be there.

Holy Wooder is a Belgian-style triple which has already become very popular in the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where Pope Francis will be visiting this weekend. In fact, the Seminary asked for a half-keg of the brew specifically for the special occasion.

“We don’t usually do home deliveries, but we made an exception,” said Bill Barton, co-owner of Philadelphia Brewing Co.

Beer isn’t the only item that’s been marketed as a celebration of His Holiness’s first American tour, as CNBC and The Daily Beast both noted. In Philadelphia alone, it’s estimated that the pope’s visit will generate around $418 million from increased entertainment events and tourist visits.

Granted, the city isn’t hosting Pope Francis without paying a steep price for security services, crowd control, and other emergency safety personnel. Other people have noted that the American obsession with material items — even those portraying his holy face — directly goes against Pope Francis’s messages condemning material wealth and selfishness.

Then again, beer isn’t exactly a souvenir if you drink it, right? Here’s hoping that Pope Francis agrees!

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