Holy spirits? Closed churches find second life as breweries

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Breweries opening in renovated churches are winning fans but earning disapproval from clergy and worshippers across the U.S.

At least 10 new breweries have opened in former churches since 2011 and at least four more are slated to open within the next year. The trend started after the 2007 recession as churches merged or closed because of dwindling membership.

The stained glass windows and large sanctuaries of old churches make them tough to turn into offices or condominiums but perfect for a frosty pint.

Catholic officials in some dioceses have added deed restrictions to prevent closed churches from being converted into bars, pubs or clubs. They say serving beer and liquor isn’t an appropriate use for former houses of worship.