Beer Facts
Beer Facts

68 Intoxicating Facts about Beer

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published June 7, 2018
  • Beer is the third-most popular drink on Earth, after water and tea.[17]
  • Beer is by far the most popular alcoholic drink in the world. In 2016, people consumed nearly 50 billion gallons of beer worldwide.[12]
  • Beer is as old as human history. Beer brewing and drinking predate written language.[4]
  • In 2017, the average U.S. citizen over 21 consumed 26.9 gallons of beer. However, the United States doesn't even make the top 10 in terms of overall beer drinking.[20][21]
  • The Czech Republic consumes the most beer per capita of any country in the world, and China consumes the most overall.[12][20]
  • The earliest evidence of beer making was found in western Iran, dating back to 3,500 BC.[23]
  • Beer Money
    Beer is very, very big business
  • The beer industry in the United States turns annual profits of over 100 billion dollars.[21]
  • In 1983, there were 49 licensed breweries in the United States; by the end of 2017, there were 8,863.[21]
  • Ancient Sumerians made beer from bread and malt.[4]
  • As of 2017, California had by far the most breweries in the United States, with 1,106. Washington is a distant second with 499.[21]
  • Far from being frowned on as a dangerous recreational drink, beer in the Middle Ages was a necessary part of people's diets.[23]
  • Though there are hundreds of styles of beer, they all fall into two basic categories: lagers and ales. They are differentiated according to how yeast ferments during the brewing process.[23]
  • An ancient Egyptian document lists 17 distinct types of beer, with names like "joy-bringer" and "heavenly."[23]
  • In surveys and polls over the past two decades, American drinkers consistently choose beer as their favorite alcoholic beverage.[21]
  • In ancient Mesopotamia, beer was associated with religion and ritual and was believed to have magical powers.[23]
  • I feel wonderful drinking beer, in a blissful mood, with joy in my heart and a happy liver.

    - Sumerian poet, ca 3000 BC

  • A government-funded organization in Amsterdam, the Rainbow Group, hires alcoholics to clean litter from city streets and pays them with beer.[11]
  • In 2001, some Belgian elementary schools began serving low-alcohol beer to schoolchildren at lunch as a healthier alternative to soda.[18]
  • In 1963, Heineken developed beer bottles that could double as glass bricks to build houses. The goal was to eliminate waste and provide a cheap building material for low-income areas.[19]
  • McDonald's offers beer on its menu in many countries, including France, Germany, Portugal, and South Korea.[6]
  • In Medieval Europe, 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."[15]
  • Beer Facts Monastery
    Doubtless, some monks overindulged...

  • Brewing has been entirely transformed from the Middle Ages to the present. Where brewing was once done largely in homes and monasteries as a natural communal effort, it is now done by corporations with scientific oversight.[23]
  • French scientist Louis Pasteur wrote a book on the "diseases" of beer and the causes of its spoilage.[23]
  • Aristotle claimed that drinkers of wine and other intoxicants fall in random directions, but beer drinkers always fall on their back.[23]
  • The Mesopotamian gods were said to have their own special brewers.[23]
  • Ninkasi was the Mesopotamian goddess of beer and was said to have taught the craft of brewing to human beings. Tenenet was the Egyptian goddess of beer as well as childbirth.[23]
  • Beer was so important in ancient Mesopotamia that there are legal strictures regarding its sale in the Code of Hammurabi.[23]
  • Ancient Egypt relied heavily on beer since it provided necessary vitamins and was generally cleaner and safer to drink than water from the Nile.[23]
  • Though more beer is brewed today than during the Middle Ages, average Europeans in Medieval times drank far more.[23]
  • [In Medieval times] beer was a necessity, a part of everyday life, a drink for everyone of any age or status and a beverage for all times of the day from breakfast into diner and into the evening.

    - Richard W. Unger

  • Brewers began adding hops to beer in the 9th century AD. Today, nearly all beer is brewed with hops, which adds a zesty, bitter flavor to beer and acts as a preservative.[4]
  • Ancient Greeks didn’t drink much beer; they preferred wine.[23]
  • Viking warriors who made it to Valhalla after they died were gifted with beer.[23]
  • Tradition holds that St. Patrick kept a brewer in his household in 5th century Ireland.[23]
  • Oktoberfest is an annual German drinking festival held in Munich. Running for more than two weeks, it attracts upwards of 6 million people. Cities around the world hold their own local Oktoberfests.[17]
  • Beer Facts Oktoberfest
    Don't forget your lederhosen

  • The saying "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" is falsely attributed to Benjamin Franklin. He did say something similar in a letter to Abbé Morellet, but the subject was wine, not beer.[2]
  • Many civilizations of antiquity and Medieval times relied heavily upon beer as the safest available drink, due to poor water quality.[23]
  • The largest brewery in the world is Anheuser-Busch InBev., maker of such popular beers as Budweiser and Corona.[3]
  • Adolphus Busch, one of the founders of Anheuser-Busch, emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1857. "It is my aim to win the American people over," he said, "to make them all lovers of beer."[3]
  • Egypt Beer Facts
    Beer played a social, religious, and economic role in ancient Egypt
  • Women did the majority of beer brewing in ancient Egypt.[23]
  • Catholic priests and monks took up the art of brewing in the early Middle Ages, and many European breweries today have grown out of this monastic tradition.[23]
  • A bottle of "Allsopp's Arctic Ale," brewed in 1875 for an expedition to the North Pole, sold at auction in England in 2015 for £3,300, which equates to about $4,500.[5]
  • The strongest beer in the world is "Snake Venom," brewed by Scottish brewery Brewmeister. It is 67.5% alcohol by volume (abv). For comparison, most vodka is 40% abv, with beers typically between 3% and 10% abv.[8]
  • The largest recorded glass of beer contained just under 330 gallons of Guinness, at the Auld Dubliner Irish Pub is Tustin, California.[1]
  • Since beer is made in large batches, it is difficult to hide and thus, easier to tax. This made beer an important source of income for all levels of government during the Middle Ages.[4]
  • Beer Boot German
    Wearing the boot is not recommended
  • You can buy a "boot of beer" in many German drinking halls. The boot-shaped glass hearkens back to the practice of German soldiers drinking beer from an actual boot in the trenches of World War I.[17]
  • People often think of American lagers or Belgian ales when they think of beer, but there are many types of beer, such as sorghum-based African opaque beer, Japanese sake (which is not wine, but a rice beer), Russian kvass made from bread, and corn-based South American chicha.[4]
  • Approximately 48% of Americans drink at sporting events, with beer being the drink of choice.[14]
  • The oldest continuously operating brewery in the world is located at Weihenstephan Abbey in Bavaria, Germany. The Benedictine monks at Weihenstephan began brewing beer in 1040 AD.[10]
  • The "Pizza Beer Brewery" brews a beer that tastes like—you guessed it—pizza.[22]
  • Rogue Ales, an Oregon brewery, created a "Beard Beer" using yeast grown in their brewmaster's beard.[22]
  • Strange craft beer ingredients used by contemporary brewers include coffee, oatmeal, avocado, cookie dough, chipotle peppers, seaweed, oysters, candy corn, squid ink, blue cheese, pastrami, and pig brain.[22]
  • In some small African villages, people gather around communal beer pots that they drink from with straws.[17]
  • Beer Facts Guinness
    The success of ending pub arguments aside, the Guinness Book of World Records is now a household name
  • The Guinness Book of World Records was conceived of by Hugh Beaver, the Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, as a way to settle pub disputes.[9]
  • Anheuser-Busch, the longtime king of American brewing, was acquired by the Belgian brewing company InBev, in a somewhat hostile takeover, in 2008.[17]
  • You can go swimming in a pool of beer at the Schloss Starkenberger brewery in Tarrentz, Austria. The sudsy bath is said to promote healthy skin.[7]
  • Early Christian kings in England had a difficult time regulating drinking among their citizenry, and "ale booths," small beer stands, lined the old Roman roads to serve thirsty travelers.[17]
  • Drinking a "yard of ale" is a traditional coming-of-age ceremony in Britain. The young man must drink 3 pints without stopping from a yard-long glass tube with a bulb at the end.[17]
  • The melody of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was originally the tune of an English drinking song called "To Anacreon in Heaven."[17]
  • Drinking and singing go hand in hand. Most cultures have a wide variety of drinking songs. Germany places those songs in their own musical category, Trinklieder, and Japanese karaoke originated as a bar activity.[17]
  • Niels Bohr beer
    Studying physics can pay big dividends
  • When Danish physicist Niels Bohr won the Nobel Prize, the Carlsberg brewing company gave him a house with a pipeline to the brewery and free beer for life.[13]
  • Serious beer drinkers know that different beers require different vessels. Lightly carbonated Belgian lambic and gueuze belong in a flute glass, Pilsner in a straight-sided tulip glass, and Trappist ales in elegant chalices. Mugs are for straw-blonde German beer, and classic British pint glasses are for bitter and stout.[17]
  • The most famous and widely distributed American beers, such as Budweiser and Coors, are Pilsner-style lagers. Named for the region that developed them (Pilsen, Bohemia), these light, golden-colored suds are easy to drink and have a clean, simple flavor profile.[4]
  • The German Reinheitsgebot, or "Beer Purity Law," was decreed by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria in 1516 and stated that only barley, hops, and water could be used in the brewing of beer. The law is still in effect, though with many modifications.[17]
  • In addition to the basics—water, grain, hops, and malt—beer can be brewed with nearly any conceivable ingredient and can take on an incredible range of flavors, textures, and aromas.[17]
  • Root beer and ginger beer are not, in fact, beer in any sense.[17]
  • Beer-drinking vessels throughout history have ranged from crude implements to golden or porcelain works of art and often reflected the drinker's social position.[17]
  • Many early temperance movements that frowned upon the consumption of alcohol limited their restrictions to hard liquor, exempting beer and wine as healthy alternatives. During American prohibition, however, beer was out too.[17]
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was once called the "Beer Capital of the World," as it was home to four of the largest American breweries: Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz, as well as a large German population and a vibrant drinking culture.[17]
  • Ancient Egyptians used beer for a wide variety of purposes, including as an enema and douche.[16]
  • Random Beer Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Beer Infographic Thumbnail

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