Ninkasi: The Goddess of Beer


Her father was Enki, the lord Nudimmud, and her mother was Ninti, the queen of the Abzu. She is also one of the eight children created in order to heal one of the eight wounds that Enki receives. Furthermore, she is the goddess of alcohol. She was also borne of “sparkling fresh water.” She is the goddess made to “satisfy the desire” and “sate the heart.” She would prepare the beverage daily. She was loved so much that they wrote a poem was written about her. It’s title is “A hymn to Ninkasi”. 

Emperor Charlemagne trains the first brewers


The Emperor seemed to place a large importance on  brewing, and imported a priest named Gall, (later Saint Gall) to  refine the brewing process. St. Gall introduced methods for Mashing,  Fermenting, Storing, and Caring for beer that revolutionized the  industry; most of these techniques are similar to the ones used today.  It is important to note that the Church had a major influence through  out the early history of brewing. This Influence started with the  Egyptians and would continue through the Middle Ages, having a great impact on what was put in beer, and how it was made.

Elephants raid the liqour cabinet


No wonder they don’t sell beer at the circus. Apparently, elephants like to get wasted. In fact, an outpost of the Indian army in the jungle region of Bagdogra has been under attack ever since a local herd of elephants raided the base in search of food and discovered the soldiers’ entire winter rations of rum.

Since then, the pachyderms have regularly raided the base for a drink and have smashed down all defenses put up by the army, including electrified fences and firewalls.

According to The Daily Telegraph, “An officer recently posted there explained that the elephants broke the rum bottles by cleverly curling their trunks around the bottom. Then they empty the contents down their throats. They soon got drunk, he said, and swayed around. They enjoy themselves and then return to the jungle.”

This is by no means a singular incident, though. The animal kingdom is well-known for its ability to identify fruit that’s begun to ferment. Anthropologists even believe this is how early man discovered alcohol — by observing the strange behavior of animals on a fruit bender.

Paul Revere’s D.U.I


The key to a good drinking story is not really how much you consumed, but what kind of idiocy you engaged in afterwards. Idiocy like, say, sparking a war.

Turns out, Paul Revere’s famous ride didn’t start out as a hootinhollerin’ wake-up-the-villagers sort of trip. According to historian Charles Taussig, Revere embarked on the stealth mission from Charlestown to Lexington in order to warn Sam Adams (the beer guy) and John Hancock (the big signature guy) that the British were coming. But by chance, his route took him through Medford—the rum capital of America. At the time, rum was colonial America’s number one commercial industry. So naturally, Revere stopped in for a brief rest at the house of Captain Isaac Hall, the leader of the local Minutemen and distiller of Old Medford Rum.

By the time Revere saddled up again, he’d sampled his fair share of Captain Hall’s hospitality and “he who came a silent horseman, departed a virile and vociferous crusader, with a cry of defiance and not of fear.” Not surprisingly, Revere was “pulled over” by the authorities (Redcoats) and detained for an hour before being released. So, it was actually Revere’s drunken caterwauling that roused Adams and Hancock at about 4:30 in the morning, only half an hour before fighting broke out on Lexington Green. Unfortunately, history has no record of Revere’s reaction when he awoke the next day (presumably nursing a hangover) and was informed of what he’d done.

The Dutch bring beer to New York


In 1609, the Dutch sent English explorer Henry Hudson westward for a third attempt at finding the fabled Northeast Passage. A near mutiny forced him southward, and upon reaching land, he encountered members of the Delaware Indian tribe.

To foster good relations, Hudson shared his brandy with the tribal chief, who soon passed out. But upon waking up the next day, he asked Hudson to pour some more for the rest of his tribe. From then on, the Indians referred to the island as Manahachtanienk — literally, “The High Island.”

And not “high” as in “tall;” high as in “the place where we got blotto.” Most people would agree that Manhattan has stayed true to the spirit of its name ever since.

The London Beer Flood of 1814


The Industrial Revolution wasn’t all steam engines and textile mills. Beer production increased exponentially, as well. Fortunately, the good people of England were up to the challenge and drained kegs as fast as they were made. Brewery owners became known as “beer barons,” and they spent their newfound wealth in an age-old manner — by trying to party more than the next guy.

Case in point: In 1814, Meux’s Horse Shoe Brewery in London constructed a brewing vat that was 22 feet tall and 60 feet in diameter, with an interior big enough to seat 200 for dinner — which is exactly how its completion was celebrated. (Why 200? Because a rival had built a vat that seated 100, of course.)

After the dinner, the vat was filled to its 4,000-barrel capacity. Pretty impressive, given the grand scale of the project, but pretty unfortunate given that they overlooked a faulty supporting hoop. Yup, the vat ruptured, causing other vats to break, and the resulting commotion was heard up to 5 miles away.

A wall of 1.3 million gallons of dark beer washed down the street, caving in two buildings and killing nine people by means of “drowning, injury, poisoning by the porter fumes, or drunkenness.”

The story gets even more unbelievable, though. Rescue attempts were blocked and delayed by the thousands who flocked to the area to drink directly off the road. And when survivors were finally brought to the hospital, the other patients became convinced from the smell that the hospital was serving beer to every ward except theirs. A riot broke out, and even more people were left injured.

Sadly, this incident was not deemed tragic enough at the time to merit an annual memorial service and/or reenactment.

Admiral Edward Russell’s 17th-Century Throwdown


Think you can drink like a sailor? Maybe you should take a moment to reflect on what that truly means.

The record for history’s largest cocktail belongs to British Lord Admiral Edward Russell. In 1694, he threw an officer’s party that employed a garden’s fountain as the punch bowl.

The concoction? A mixture that included 250 gallons of brandy, 125 gallons of Malaga wine, 1,400 pounds of sugar, 2,500 lemons, 20 gallons of lime juice, and 5 pounds of nutmeg.

A series of bartenders actually paddled around in a small wooden canoe, filling up guests’ cups. Not only that, but they had to work in 15-minute shifts to avoid being overcome by the fumes and falling overboard.

The party continued nonstop for a full week, pausing only briefly during rainstorms to erect a silk canopy over the punch to keep it from getting watered down. In fact, the festivities didn’t end until the fountain had been drunk completely dry.



History of Beer in America 1900-2000


1900 Woman’s Christian Temperance Union member Carrie Nation does a hatchet job on the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kansas.
1901 Ten Boston brewers merge into Massachusetts Breweries Company, Ltd.

Sixteen Baltimore brewers consolidate into the Gottlieb-Bauernschmidt-Straus Brewing Company.

Barrel tax on beer reduced to $1.60.

1902 Barrel tax on beer reduced to $1.00.
1905 Independent Brewing Company formed by fifteen Pittsburgh breweries.
1909 United States Brewers Association yearbook discusses the problems of poor conditions in saloons and the need for a cleanup.
1912 Nine states vote dry.
1913 Webb-Kenyon bill passed prohibiting the interstate shipment of alcoholic beverages to dry states.
1914 Resolution to prohibit liquor through a constitutional amendment loses in the House due to lack of required two-thirds majority vote (197 for, 190 against).

Fourteen states dry.

Secretary of Navy Josephus Daniels orders prohibition of alcohol on Naval ships and Naval installations.

1916 Twenty-three states dry.

Six San Francisco breweries consolidate.

1917 District of Columbia passes a prohibition law.

Distilleries closed by Food Control Law.

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.

House of Representatives Bill No. 6810 presented in May by Rep. Volstead establishing the apparatus for the enforcement of prohibition. The bill was passed October 10, vetoed by President Wilson on October 27. The veto was subsequently overridden by Congressional vote.

1920s Near beers brewed during prohibition: Pablo by Pabst, Famo by Schlitz, Vivo by Miller, Lux-O by Stroh and Bevo by Anheuser.-Busch.
1920 Association Against the Prohibition Amendment organized by William H. Stayton.
1921 300 million gallons of “near beer” produced.
1922 Prohibitionist Volstead defeated in Minnesota elections.

Anthony & Kuhn Brewery of St. Louis sold to a laundry.

1923 The Moderation League is formed.
1926 Montana votes to repeal the state prohibition enforcement law. Other states follow suit.
1929 The Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform started.
1930 The Crusaders formed protesting the lawlessness, crime, and corruption brought on by Prohibition.

American Brewers Association formed.

1931 American Legion votes for a referendum of national prohibition.
1932 86 million gallons of near beer produced.
1933 The Cullen Bill is passed in March allowing states which did not have state prohibition laws to sell 3.2% beer. It also instituted a $5.00 per barrel tax on beer. On April 7, 1933 the legalization of beer takes effect via the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th.

31 brewers back in operation by June.

1934 756 brewers back in operation.
1935 Canned beer introduced by American Can Company and Krueger Brewing Co. of Newark, New Jersey on June 24.

Schlitz introduces cone top can produced by Continental Can Company.

Falstaff Brewing Co. of St. Louis leases the Krug Brewing Company of Omaha, Nebraska. This touches off a wave of acquisitions by large brewers.

1936 United Brewers Industrial Foundation formed.

Brewing Industry, Inc. formed.

1940 Beer production at level of preprohibition years with half the number of breweries in operation as in 1910.

Barrel tax raised from $5.00 to $6.00.

1941 All brewers’ associations united under the United States Brewers’ Association.
1943 Brewers are required to allocate 15% of their production for military use.
1944 Barrel tax raised to $8.00.
1949-1958 185 breweries close down or sell out.
1950 407 breweries in operation.
1951 Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis builds a new brewery in Newark, New Jersey starting a trend for expansion of breweries.

Barrel tax raised to $9.00.

1953 Anheuser-Busch buys the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.
1954 First l6oz can introduced by Schlitz.
1959 Aluminum can introduced by Coors of Golden, Colorado.
1960 Aluminum can top introduced.
1961 230 breweries in operation. Only 140 are independently run.
1962 Tab top can introduced by Pittsburgh Brewing Company.
1964 Haffenreffer brews the last beer in Boston. After 300 years of brewing history, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts found itself without an operating brewery.
1965 “Ring Pull” can introduced.
1969 Canned beer outsells bottled beer for the first time.

Fritz Maytag takes ownership of the Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco, CA. It is not obvious at the time, but a revolution has begun. He brews high quality beer for non-main stream tastes.

1970 A small group of collectors of brewery advertising items form the first club in the nation devoted to that hobby – The Eastern Coast Breweriana Association (ECBA).
1971 Philip Morris Co. acquires Miller Brewing Co.
1972 State of Oregon becomes the first state to adopt a container deposit law.
1977 The first ale is served in a new brewery in Sonoma, CA. Jack McAuliffe’s venture is short lived, but the New Albion Brewery will become known as America’s first “Micro Brewery”, or “Craft Brewery”.

President Jimmy Carter’s brother debuts his “Billy Beer.”

1978 Homebrewing made federally legal in the United States.
1981 First ever Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is held in Colorado — now America’s oldest and largest beer tasting and competition.
1982 For the first time since prohibition, a brewery is allowed to open that not only sells its’ beer at its’ own bar on premises, but serves food to boot. In Bert Grant’s Yakima Brewing and Malting Co., Inc., the Brew Pub is born.
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.

The top six breweries (Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Heileman, Stroh, Coors, and Pabst) control 92% of U. S. beer production.

1984 44 Brewing concerns are operating a total of 83 breweries.

Micro Breweries begin to spread: Riley-Lyon (AR): Boulder (CO); Snake River (ID); Millstream (IA); Columbia River (OR); Kessler (MT); Chesapeake Bay (VA).

Manhatten Brewing Co., in New York City’s SOHO section, becomes the first Brew Pub on the east coast.

Jim Koch establishes the Boston Beer Company.

1990 307 years after William Frampton opened his brewery on Philadelphia’s Dock Street Creek, he is memorialized through the opening of the Dock Street Brewing Co.

Producing 31,000 bbls. of beer, the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, CA becomes the first start up micro brewery to break out of that classification (considered 25,000 bbl or less).

1994 It becomes legal to put the alcohol content of beer on containers.

California begins the year with 84 Micro Breweries or Brewpubs in operation – one more than there were breweries in the nation 10 years earlier.

Attendees at the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union convention are admonished to recapture the spirit of Carrie Nation.

Year end production figures rank the top 5 brewers as: Anheuser.Busch (87.5 million bbls.); Miller (42.6 million bbls.); Adolph Coors (20.3 million bbls.); Stroh’s (11.8 million bbls.); G. Heileman (8.4 million bbls.)

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.

Todd Alstrom writes his first beer review on a napkin in Northampton, MA; Berkshire’s Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale.

1996 1,102 craft breweries produce 5.3 million barrels; a record 333 new brewpubs and microbreweries open in one year. launches.

1997 1,315 craft breweries produce 5.5 million barrels of beer.
1998 1,376 craft breweries produce 5.5 million barrels of beer. A crowded industry feels the strain of such a large number of producers and begins to correct itself, resulting in the closing of many brewpubs and microbreweries across the nation.
1999 1,147 craft breweries produce 5.8 million barrels as the craftbrewing industry begins a period of more stable, consistent growth.
2000 1,147 craft breweries produce 6.1 million barrels of beer.
2001 1,458 breweries produce 6.2 million barrels of beer. Annual dollar volume for craft beer is $3.4 billion. US brewing industry total is $51 billion.

History of Beer in America 1800-1900


1808 Nembers of the Congregational Church in Moreau, Saratoga County, New York form a temperance society.
1810 132 operating breweries produce 185,000 barrels of beer. Population of the country is 7 million.

Jacques Delassas de St. Vrain begins brewing in St. Louis, Missouri (brewery destroyed by fire in 1812).

1815 The American Brewer and Maltster by Joseph Cappinger is published.
1819 A steam engine built by Thomas Holloway is installed in the brewery of Frances Perot in Philadelphia. This is the first engine to be used in beer production in America.

Nathan Lyman starts the first brewery in Rochester, New York.

1820 Brewers report business off due to increased consumption of whiskey.
1826 American Society for the Promotion of Temperance formed in Boston (also known as the American Temperance Society).
1829 American Temperance Society has 100,000 members.

David G. Yuengling opens a brewery in the Pennsylvania coal town of Pottsville. It continues in 1995 as the oldest operating brewery in the United States, still owned by the Yuengling family.

1830 Jacob Roos builds the first brewery in Buffalo, New York.
1832 Secretary of War Lewis Cass cancels the ration of liquor to the military.
1833 William Lill & Co. (Heas & Sulzer) start the first commercial brewery in Chicago and produce 600 barrels of ale in their first year.

Membership in the country’s five thousand temperance societies exceeds one and one quarter million.

1836 United States Temperance Union meets in Saratoga, New York and changes name to American Temperance Union. Principle of total abstinence or “Teetotalism” is introduced.
1837 Rice and Kroener establish the first brewery in Evansville, Indiana.
1840 Philadelphia brewer John Wagner introduces lager beer.
1844 The Fortmann and Company Brewery introduces lager beer to Cincinnati.

Jacob Best starts a brewery in Milwaukee which later becomes the Pabst Brewing Co.

1846 Maine passes prohibition law.
1847 John Huck and John Schneider start the first lager beer brewery in Chicago.
1848 John Roesele starts a lager beer brewery in Boston.

Unrest in Germany causes many Germans to emigrate to America.

1849 August Krug forms a brewery in Milwaukee which evolved into the Schlitz Brewery.

Adam Schuppert Brewery at Stockton and Jackson Streets in San Francisco becomes California’s first brewery.

1850 Mathias Frahm establishes Davenport, Iowa’s first brewery.

431 breweries in the country produce 750,000 barrels of beer (31 gallons per barrel). The population is 23 million.

1852 George Schneider starts a brewery in St. Louis, Missouri. This brewery is the seed of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

San Francisco has 350 bar rooms to serve the hard-drinking population of 36,000.

Henry Saxer starts a brewing business (City Brewery) in Portland, Oregon Territory. This brewery was later owned by Henry Weinhard.

Prohibition comes to Vermont.

Prohibition adopted in Massachusetts (repealed in 1868).

Rhode Island enacts prohibition (repealed in 1863).

Territory of Minnesota enacts a short-lived prohibition.

1853 Prohibition voted in for Michigan.
1854 Prohibition begins in Connecticut.
1855 German brewer William Menger starts a lager beer brewery in San Antonio, Texas. This is the first brewery in that city.

Prohibition adopted in New York, New Hampshire, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, and the Nebraska Territory.

1856 The Benedictine Society of Saint Vincent’s Abbey opens a commercial brewery in their Monastery near Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
1857 The largest brewery in the West is the Chicago brewery of William Lill and Michael Diversey.
1859 Solomon, Taecher & Co. start Colorado’s first brewery, the Rocky Mountain Brewery.
1860 1269 breweries produce over one million barrels of beer for a population of 31 million. New York and Pennsylvania account for 85% of the production.
1861 Internal Revenue System introduced.
1862 Ernest Weisgerber builds Idaho’s first brewery (in Lewistown).

Internal Revenue Act taxes beer at the rate of one dollar per barrel to help finance the government during the Civil War.

37 New York breweries form an association that would officially become the United States Brewers Association in 1864.

1863 161,607 barrels of beer are produced in the New England states.

Thomas Smith, Christian Ritcher, and Henry Gilbert found the first brewery in Montana Territory (Virginia City).

1865 Mathew Vassar, a prominent Poughkeepsie, New York brewer, founds Vassar College, the first privately endowed school for women.

National Temperance Society and Publication House formed in Saratoga, New York.

1866 Internal Revenue issues stamp regulations requiring application of tax stamps to barrels of beer leaving the brewery.

Levin & Co.’s pioneer Brewery in Tucson is the first to operate in the Arizona Territory.

1867 Prohibition efforts in Iowa and New York fail.

3700 breweries in operation in America producing 6 million barrels of beer.

1868 John Siebel opens a brewing school which later becomes the Siebel Institute of Technology.

Publication of the monthly magazine The American Brewer begins in January.

1869 Prohibition Party organized in Chicago.

Another prohibition law enacted in Massachusetts (repealed 1875).

Best Brewing Co. (later Pabst) begins expansion in Milwaukee with the purchase of Charles T. Melms’ Brewery.

1871 A number of Chicago breweries destroyed by fire started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow: Doyle & Co., Huck, Jerusalem, Lill & Diversey, Metz, Mueller, Sands, and K. G. Schmidt.
1872 Anheuser adopts A and Eagle trademark.

First brewery workers’ strike in New York City.

Prohibitionist presidential candidate James Black draws 5608 votes.

1873 4131 breweries (record number) produce 9 million barrels of beer.

Adolphus Busch begins bottling of beer for large scale shipments at the Anheuser Brewery in St. Louis (bottling was not new – only the magnitude of this venture).

1874 Woman’s Christian Temperance Union formed.
1875 First lager beer in California brewed by Boca Brewing Co. in Boca.
1876 Louis Pasteur publishes “Studies on Beer” showing how yeast organisms can be controlled.
1877 George Ehret of New York is the largest brewer in the country.
1879 Ballantine adopts three ring trademark.
1880 Frederick Salem authors “Beer, Its History and Its Economic Value as a National Beverage.” The book is his argument for beer as a temperance measure. It offers the motto “Beer against Whisky.”

Internal Revenue Department records indicate 2830 ale and lager breweries in operation.

U. S. Brewers Academy established.

1880-1910 Number of breweries declines. Improved methods of production and distribution mean fewer breweries can manufacture more beer. By 1910 number of breweries drops to around 1500.
1882 National Brewers’ and Distillers’ Association formed.
1884 Adolphus Busch of St. Louis and Otto Koehler establish the Lone Star Brewing Co. in San Antonio, Texas.
1885 An injunction closes the John Walruff Brewery in Lawrence, Kansas which had flaunted prohibition laws for five years. He appeals on the basis that prohibition laws constitute illegal confiscation of property.
1886 John Walruff wins appeal in lower courts. Case taken to Supreme Court.

National Union of the Brewers of the United States established.

Abraham Cohen establishes the first brewery in Alaska at Juneau.

1887 United States Supreme Court rules in John Walruff case that Kansas was not depriving Walruff of his property, but merely abating a nuisance and prohibiting the injurious use of that property.

Master Brewers’ Association organized.

Tuscarora Advertising Company formed in Coshocton, Ohio producing a wide variety of advertising items.

1888 Standard Advertising Company founded by H. D. Beach in Coschocton, Ohio in competition with Tuscarora Advertising.

Brewery employees strike in New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee.

A British syndicate under the name New York Breweries Co. is formed through the purchase of H. Claussen & Son Brewing Co. and Flanagan, Nay & Co.

1889 One of the first big brewery mergers takes place. Franz Falk Brewing Co. and Jung and Borchert in Milwaukee merge to form Falk, Jung & Borchert Brewing Co. This brewery was taken over four years later by Pabst.

A British syndicate proposes a plan to merge Schlitz, Pabst, and Blatz in Milwaukee. Schlitz and Pabst decline the offer. Blatz sells part of its business to Milwaukee and Chicago Breweries Ltd.

Eighteen St. Louis breweries merge into the English syndicate St. Louis Brewing Association.

1890 Six New Orleans brewers combine to form the New Orleans Brewing Co.
1892 British syndicates start price wars. Prices in Chicago decrease from $6.00 per barrel to $3.50 and $4.00 per barrel.

Crown cap invented by William Painter of Crown Cork and Seal Co. in Baltimore.

Wood pulp coaster invented by Robert Smith of Dresden, Germany.

1893 Anti-Saloon League founded by Rev. Howard Hyde Russell with the goal of suppressing the saloon.
1898 Beer barrel tax raised to $2.00 during Spanish American War. Beer sales decline.

The Royal Brewery is the first to operate in Hawaii.

1899 The Pittsburgh Brewing Company formed by the consolidation of twenty one Pittsburgh brewers.

History of Beer in America from 1700-1800


1734 Mary Lisle, the first known “brewster” in America, takes over her late fathers Edinburgh Brewhouse in Philadelphia, which she operates until 1751.

1738 Major William Horton builds the first brewery in the deep south at Jekyll Island, Georgia.

1754 George Washington enters a beer recipe in his notebook.

1762 The Theory and Practice of Brewing by Michael Combrune is published. This is the first attempt to establish rules and principles for the art of brewing.

1765 The British Army builds a brewery at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh, PA). The first brewery west of the Allegheny mountains.
A brewery is built in the French colonial settlement of Kaskaskia in what is now Illinois. It is the first brewery outside the 13 colonies.

1772 A mixture of dark to light malts called “Porter” is concocted in England. Exports begin to America but it fails to gain popularity.

1774 Robert Smith begins a modest ale brewing venture at Saint John & Noble Streets in Philadelphia. Through relocations and buy outs, the Robert Smith brand will survive until 1986 – 212 years.

The Single Brothers Brewery and Distillery opens in the Noravian religious settlement of Salem, North Carolina.

1775 Revolutionary War measures by Congress include rationing to each soldier one quart of Spruce Beer or Cider per man per day.

1789 George Washington presents his “buy American” policy indicating he will only drink porter made in America.

Massachusetts passes an Act encouraging the manufacture and consumption of beer and ale.

1792 New Hampshire agrees not to tax brewing property.

1793 Philadelphia produces more beer than all the other seaports in the country.