The earliest recorded records of beer come from the Mesopotamia in the
For ancient Babylonians, beer was very much a part of everyday life and considered to be part of their diet. Beer was so important that it became a form of currency and workers were paid in beer. Payment ranged from 2 liters per day for normal workers and as much as 5 liters per day for priests.
The Babylonians took beer to the next level creating about 20 different varieties. During this time, all beer was dark and cloudy and contained solid residues, which were bitter, so straws were used to drink the beer, avoiding these particles.
The Egyptians also made several kinds of beer. While the poor enjoyed the clearest types, the wealthy enjoyed beer that was spiced with ginger, honey and dates. Beer was also an important part of commerce. The stonemasons who built the pyramids were paid in a type of beer called “kash”. Even back then, beer was perceived as nutritious and healthy with ancient Egyptian medical text listing 117 “cure alls” that were based on beer.
As civilization spread throughout
Royalty became involved in brewing not only for beer, but for the money. Royal families would commission local brewers to make beer, thus giving birth to the commercial breweries. As the number of breweries increased so did the demand for quality. As a result, many regulations were put in place to ensure the quality of beers being made.
Throughout the middle ages, beer became the beverage of choice, not only for adults but for everyone. Overpopulation and poor sanitation created a breeding ground with in the cities for diseases and sickness. As a result, beer was not only safe for everyone to drink, including children, but was also used for bathing and washing.
Early European settlers brought beer with them as they migrated to the new world. Beer even influenced the Pilgrims to land at Plymouth Rock because they were out of beer. As more and more immigrants crossed the
During this time, the brewing process experienced very little change until the early 1800’s when Louis Pasteur was able to identify yeast as the agent responsible for the fermentation of beer. Once this was known, brew masters were able to use the finest local ingredients and a unique brewing process to produce clear golden beer. Following in the footsteps of Josef Groll, who produced the first clear golden beer and named it after is birthplace, Pilsner Urquell, a whole new category of beers known as Pilsners were created.
Many of the great breweries of American were founded by European immigrants who learned the brewing process through a number of apprenticeships in their native countries. Armed with the brewing knowledge and often bringing a defining yeast with them with dreams of starting their own brewery in American, these pioneers reshaped the landscape of the New World.
Important Years in the History of Beer
1587 - Virginia colonists brew ale using corn.
1607 - First shipment of beer arrives in Virginia colony from England.
1612 - Adrian Block and Hans Christiansen establish the first known brewery in the New World on the southern tip of New Amsterdam (Manhattan).
1634 - Samuel Cole is the first to be licensed in Boston to operate a tavern.
1644 - Taxes are imposed on beer and other malt liquors.
1734 - Mary Lisle, the first known “Brewster” in America, takes over her late fathers Edinburgh Brewhouse in Philadelphia, which she operates until 1751.
1775 - Revolutionary War measures by Congress include rationing to each soldier one quart of Spruce Beer or Cider per man per day.
1789 - Massachusetts passes an Act encouraging the manufacture and consumption of beer and ale.
1826 - American Society for the Promotion of Temperance is formed in Boston.
1862 - Internal Revenue Act taxes at the rate of one dollar per barrel to help finance the government during the Civil War.
1880 - Internal Revenue Department records indicate 2,830 ale and lager breweries in operation.
1892 - Crown cap invented by William Painter of Crown Cork and Seal co. in Baltimore.
1919 - 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified on January 16 calling for national prohibition to take effect one year from the date of ratification.
1920 - Near beers brewed during prohibition: Vivio by Miller, Paldo by Pabst, Famo by Schlitz, Kux-O by Stroh’s and Bevo by Anheuser-Busch.
1933 - On April 7, the legalization of beer takes effect via the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th. Thirty One brewers were back in operation by June.
1935 - Canned beer introduced by the American Can Company and Krueger Brewing Co. of Newark, New Jersey.
1959 - First aluminum can introduce by Coors Brewing Company of Golden Co.
1969 - Canned beer outsells bottle beer for the first time.
1970s - Low-calorie, or "light", beer emerged.
1978 - Homebrewing made federally legal in the United States.
1982 - For the first time since prohibition, a brewery is allowed to open that not only sells its beer at its’ own bar on-premise, but serves food to boot, thus creating the Brew Pub.
1983 - In January, 51 brewing concerns are operating a total of 80 breweries. This is the low water mark for breweries in the 20th century.
1995 - Approximately 500 breweries are operating in the United States, and they are estimated to increase at a rate of 3 or 4 per week.
2001 - 1,458 breweries produce 6.2 million barrels of beer, The annual dollar volume for the U.S. brewing industry is $51 billion.