My daughter Talia recently became a Certified Cicerone (beer sommelier) after spending two years studying the science of brewing not to mention performing extensive personal research at craft breweries in the U.S., France, Australia and New Zealand (tough duty). She was encouraged to take the test by her employer, alcohol delivery app, Drizly. Talia might have missed the ground floor of the brewing revolution, but it seems that beer drinkers across the globe continue to expand their horizons.  In 1983 there were 49 licensed breweries in the United States. The number now stands at 8,863. California alone has 1,106 breweries while second place Washington has 499.  The success of the American experience has engendered worldwide emulation. Europe’s craft beer scene experienced double digit growth annually from 2011-2016.   The most striking phenomenon to me is the growth of the Italian craft scene. During my last trip to Italy in 2007 the beer choices in tavernas were usually limited to Peroni, Dab, or Stella Artois. Ten years later there are over 900 craft breweries in Italy. Still, craft beers only account for 3% of sales in Europe compared to the 12% share craft brews enjoy in the U.S.

Despite its craft dominance, the U.S. ranks only 21st place in per capita beer consumption (74 liters per years). The Czech Republic is #1 with 143 liters per year. If you knew that Namibia ranks second, then you have way too much time on your hands. Usual suspects, Germany and Ireland, rank fourth and sixth respectively. Belgium weighs in at #27which is shocking considering it seems to have more breweries than residents. Belgium not only trails the U.S. but also falls behind Seychelles, Belize and Gambon.

Beer is the third-most popular drink on Earth (edged out by water and tea) and has been an essential part of nutrition regimens throughout history. The earliest beer recipe was found in Western Iran and dates to 3,500 BC. The Code of Hammurabi established in 1,750 B.C. included legal strictures for the sale of beer. Ancient Egypt relied heavily on beer since it provided necessary vitamins and was safer to drink than water from the Nile (Duh). in order to finance her wars with Rome, Cleopatra became the first world ruler to impose a tax on beer.

In the Middle Ages beer was a necessary part of a healthy diet, again due the hazards associated with drinking water. Catholic monks would often undergo “beer fasts” during the forty days of Lent. They ate no food, getting calories only from beer, which they called “liquid bread”. (I seem to remember that one of my Irish uncles was so observant that he continued his beer fast for the entire year).

Beer also played a vital role in the New World. The original destination of the Pilgrims was Virginia but due to a depleted beer supply, they cast anchor at Plymouth Rock.  During Colonial times, beer was considerably safer than water. Families would drink a low alcohol brew at breakfast and gradually up the ante as the day progressed. George Washington maintained a brewhouse at Mount Vernon although his wife eschewed the beverage in favor of her famous rum punch.

Additional Trivia 
When Danish physicist Niels Bohr won the Nobel Prize in 1922, Carlsberg gave him a house with a complimentary pipeline to its brewery.

Definition of the quintessential optimist: In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for his Dublin brewery.

Gift idea for your favorite beer lover – Brewmeister produces “Snake Venom,” the world’s strongest beer (67.5% alcohol)

For the more health conscious –The Schloss Starkenberger brewery in Austria allows visitors to swim in a pool of beer. Apparently, it promotes healthy skin.

Finally: It was a custom in Babylon, 4,000 years ago, that a bride’s father would supply his son-in law with all the mead he could drink for a month. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the “honey month,” or what we know today as the “honeymoon.”

Cheers and have a great weekend.

If you are looking for top-notch marketing support, contact