CBIA member, BVH Integrated Services, was part of a team that recently finished a very cool building project. It's a neat story...

In need of additional revenue to support their monastery and community work in the Town of Spencer, MA, the Trappist monks at St. Joseph's Abbey decided to start a brewery. While Trappist monks have been brewing beer for centuries, Spencer Brewery opened its doors earlier this year as the first Trappist brewery outside of Europe.

One of only nine such breweries in the world, the 36,000-square-foot, sleek, stainless steel brew house sits behind the stone abbey on monastery grounds. The facility houses state-of-the-art mechanical systems and equipment that produce the first and only certified Trappist beer made in the United States.

BVH performed MEP design for this unique facility, which required careful coordination with the German-engineered brewing and bottling equipment. The mechanical systems were designed to accommodate the brewery's precise functional requirements while providing a sustainable strategy for the long-term operations of the facility.

The facility places a big focus on sustainability and green practices: Local products are used for production, and organic byproducts from the brewing process are collected and stored on-site for reuse in farming operations and as an antifreeze ingredient in the Town of Spencer's winter road maintenance program. Local farmers also use the spent grain as animal feed and compost, and the brewery plans to install solar panels on the roof soon.

The massive brewery has a capacity to brew 40,000 barrels a year, but the Trappists have begun brewing just twice a week for a total of 4,000 barrels, equivalent to 1.3 million bottles. The monks plan to increase production to 10,000 barrels in the next five years. Spencer Abby Ale is currently sold in 11.2-ounce bottles to distributors in Massachusetts.

Picture above provided by BVH and LLT Architects