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Milwaukee nuns to raise funds with biergarten-to-go

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Benita Kuszpit | Shutterstock
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The School Sisters of St. Francis offer Beer Garden Boxes to keep the tradition alive during pandemic.

Milwaukee is a town that appreciates good beer, so much so that its baseball team is named the Brewers. Each summer brings with it a rich tradition of beer gardens, where bars and breweries set up large outdoor areas so that folks can gather around family-style and enjoy some beer, local food, and live music. When the coronavirus pandemic looked like it would disrupt the tradition, beverage distributors had to think fast. That’s when one group of nuns got creative.

The School Sisters of St. Francis are a group of internationally active Catholic sisters dedicated to helping the poor. To carry out their mission, the sisters based in Milwaukee raise a good deal of their funds each year by selling their own brews. With Catholic-inspired names such as Ale Mary and the Righteous Root Beer, they have become quite popular, especially among the faithful. They knew they had to find a way to bring the beer to their fans, and so they decided to turn their beer garden into a drive-through, which will distribute boxes of biergarten supplies on July 11.

The School Sisters have done their best to fit all the best aspects of beer gardens into a single box that they call “Sister Water Beer Garden (In a Box).” The package, priced at $50, includes a 64-ounce growler of freshly tapped beer or root beer, two commemorative Sister Water Beer Garden pint glasses, two soft pretzels and a jar of spicy brown mustard. Up to three additional growlers can be added to the order for $20 each. The “Sister Water” name refers both to St. Francis’ name for the liquid basis of beer and the Sisters’ support of international clean water projects.

In an effort to limit human contact, they have procedures in place to order and pay in advance, so that all who come only need to grab their box and go. Customers may want to take their time, however, as the drive-through event will include live musical entertainment from local band Kaleidoscope. The sisters will livestream the performance on their Facebook page, so that customers can enjoy the most authentic Beer Garden experience from their own homes.

The proceeds from the School Sisters’ fundraiser will go to their international missionary efforts. They provide clean water for school children in India with a system that harvests rain water and filters it, as well as offering toilet and shower facilities to high school aged teens. Their good works also extend to Peru, where they install clean, drinkable sources of water, a service also offered to the sisters in their formation house in Tanzania.

Those who are not located in Milwaukee can still take part in the fundraising efforts, as they accept monetary donations to their worthy cause. For those who miss the July 11 distribution, the Sisters are planning a second fundraiser to take place on August 8; however, they note that the second fundraiser may be subject to change depending on federal, state, and local health regulations.

For more details on how to order or donate, click here to visit the School Sisters of St. Francis’ website.

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