C.E. Floyd Celebrates America’s First Ever Trappist Brewery

Monk Boil Interior_Nick Hiller

Br. Daniel inspecting the boil at the newly built Spencer Brewery on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Abbey.

Spencer, MA –  C.E. Floyd  of Bedford is celebrating the completion of the first Trappist Brewery ever constructed in the United States. The opening of this state-of-the-art facility signals a new era in the American beer industry, as Spencer Brewery begins distributing limited quantities of its much-anticipated Spencer Trappist Ale to stores last week. 

C.E Floyd Company, Inc., a Bedford-based general contractor, overcame numerous challenges while building this complex brewery, from the time ground was broken in September, 2012 to brewing the first batch of ale 14-months later. The brewery is located on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA.

The client, St. Joseph’s Abbey, tapped the general contractor to build and manage the process equipment installation of what is now a magnificent and historic brewery.

Building Information Modeling (BIM), a 3-D computer modeling system, was utilized to coordinate the building and brewing equipment layout. Eight fermentation tanks are housed in the brewery which also features stainless steel process piping, fully vitrified octagonal tiles in the brewing area that provide a connection to the European roots of the brewery, and a removable curtainwall system and removable roof panel to allow for future equipment replacement and expansion.


Construction was completed in late 2013 and the brewing process began shortly after that time.

The need to support a simple monastic lifestyle is what led St. Joseph’s Abby to move forward with constructing the 36,000sf brewery modeled after facilities in Europe. Members of the St. Joseph’s monastery toured several other Trappist breweries in the world, located in Belgium, Holland and Austria, to help shape their vision for creating a first-of-its-kind facility in America after these breweries.

In accordance with the International Trappist Association, all beers bearing their label must be brewed in the confines of a monastery, produced in keeping with the practices of a monastic life, and be sold for the sole purpose of supporting maintenance of the monastery and its charities. Trappist beers have a reputation of being some the most renowned in the world.

“To have the opportunity to be a part of a historic project that is unprecedented in the United States was incredibly exciting for C.E. Floyd,” said C.E. Floyd Vice President Chris Floyd. “Our client was seeking a product that reflects their lifestyle—both excellent and simple—and we are very proud of the results.”

C.E. Floyd has constructed hundreds of buildings throughout its nearly 25-year history including many in the commercial and hospitality sectors.  The company delivers the highest quality building at the best value without compromising the integrity of the design. C.E. Floyd also takes pride in outstanding communications with their clients.

The Spencer Brewery project was a unique challenge for the general contracting and construction management firm. The end result was an advanced micro-brewery with automated control systems designed for high quality output.  The brewery has the capacity to generate 40,000 barrels per year.

“For starters, the coordination that was needed was extensive between the brew house manufacturer in Germany and the bottling line in Italy, to ensure that the equipment was laid out and installed to a very specific standard using very tight tolerances,” said C.E. Floyd Senior Project Manager Chris Merrick.

“We partnered with LLT Architects and Kellar Associates to deliver an interior that reflects the simplicity of the monastic life at the abbey in an understated but timeless design, while incorporating high-quality and long lasting materials,” said Chris Floyd.

Another challenge given the remote location of the brewery was to develop a new public water supply system to meet domestic, process and fire suppression requirements. This included the installation of a 90,000 gallon underground water storage tank system.

A limited amount of the bottled product began to arrive in Massachusetts retail stores and keg barrels are anticipated to arrive in local taverns in late February or early March..

“It is rewarding to see the vision of our client become a reality through the product launch, especially knowing how hard the entire project team worked to deliver this unprecedented project,” said Chris Floyd. “We are very appreciative of the opportunity to have constructed this brewery and wish St. Joseph’s Abbey the very best.”

For over 60 years, the monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey have cooked and packed jams and jellies at the monastery under the Trappist Preserves label. This business allowed them to support themselves, while providing wholesome monastic work and charitable assistance to the poorer communities and persons in need.

Trappist communities observe the counsel of the Rule of St. Benedict, a 6th century guide for monastic life, that stresses the importance of ora et labora or “pray and work.” Monks are encouraged to be self-supportive and offer charitable assistance to others by producing and selling goods to the public.


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