Who Invented Beer? | Saucey Blog (2024)

You may think of yourself as a beer super-fan, but have you ever thought about the origins of your favorite beverage? Beer has been around for a lot longer than you probably think—we’re talking before the Middle Ages, right when civilization started. If you’ve ever been curious about who invented beer and when stay tuned.

When was beer invented?

It’s difficult to pin down exactly when beer was invented since it’s been around for such a long time. The world’s first fermented beverages probably emerged with the development of cereal agriculture around 12,000 years ago. During this time, hunter-gatherer tribes settled into civilizations based on crops like wheat, rice, barley, and corn. Some anthropologists theorize that they also stumbled upon fermentation and started brewing beer. Still, there isn’t enough evidence to confirm this concretely.

The earliest confirmed alcoholic beverage is a 9,000-year-old Chinese concoction made from rice, honey, and fruit. The first barley beer was probably born in the Middle East, somewhere near modern-day Iraq, and hard evidence of beer production dates back around 5,000 years in ancient Mesopotamia. However, people were most likely brewing beer long before this point.

Beer and ancient civilizations

The first concrete evidence of beer attributes the invention to the Sumerians of Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have discovered ceramic vessels from 3400 B.C. containing sticky beer residue. The song “Hymn to Ninkasi” was written down on a clay tablet around 1800 B.C. Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer, and the song describes a recipe for an ancient beer made by a female priestess. Beer was a cornerstone of the Sumerian diet, and the ancient civilization was likely brewing multiple different styles of beer.

Ancient Sumerians weren’t the only civilization with a taste for beer. Babylonians had around 20 recipes for beer. Egyptian Pharaohs were buried with vats of it. The workers who built the pyramids in Ancient Egypt were even paid in it. Beer likely traveled from there to Ancient Greece and Rome, where it did exist, although it was never as popular as wine. Beer lovers have been around since the invention of the beer itself.

Aside from the flavor of beer and the fact it got them drunk, ancient civilizations loved beer because it was one of the safest beverages available. Water in ancient civilizations wasn’t always potable, so alcoholic drinks like beer, which were naturally preserved and sanitized by heat, were safest.

Beer’s evolution throughout history

Beer wasn’t always the hoppy, bubbly, amber-colored beverage we know today. Ancient civilizations used to add things to their beer that would be considered pretty nasty by today’s standards; things like olive oil, bog myrtle, cheese, meadow­sweet, mugwort, carrot, and even hallucinogens like hemp and poppy. Babylonian beer was usually drunk with a straw, as it was so thick and full of grain.

In the Middle Ages, one of the places you’d find beer most frequently was, believe it or not, monasteries. Monks created breweries as places for travelers to stop, rest, and grab a drink and a bite to eat.

Beer, as we know it today, arrived by the 16th century. Germany put a beer purity law into a practice called “Reinheitsgebot.” This law listed only water, hops, and yeast as acceptable brewing ingredients, eliminating all the extras other cultures added throughout history. Yeast, however, was not included and is fairly essential to beer production. Yeast was added back onto the acceptable ingredients list a few centuries later.

Today, it’s difficult to imagine a beer without hops of any kind, but they weren’t always included in ancient beer recipes. Ancient Egyptians stabilized and flavored their beer with ingredients like wild herbs, dates, olive oil, and meadowsweet. Early brewers in Europe had to rely on a mixture of herbs and spices called gruit. Hops only began to regularly find their way into beer around 1000 A.D., and Germany began exporting hops for brewing around the 13th century.

Beer in the United States

Throughout American history, beer has been through ups and downs. Today, beer is more popular than ever, largely driven by the craft beer movement. However, it hasn’t always been this way.

The early days of beer in the United States

The first brewery in the United States was set up in New Amsterdam, which is modern-day New York City, in 1632. It was opened by the Dutch West India Company on the aptly named Brewer St. Commercial brewing wasn’t common at the time, as most people just brewed their own individual beer at home. This first brewery was built so that settlers in New Amsterdam could focus on developing the land and not worry about making their own beer.

Breweries began opening up across the US as settlers moved further west. As populations grew, more breweries popped up. In new settlements, breweries served multiple functions. Homebrewing was fairly dangerous at the time, and many fires occurred while trying to boil ingredients. Commercial breweries were much safer.

Additionally, building a brewery brought an economic boost to the area. In many settlements, a brewery or tavern was the first structure built. This was to encourage people to stop in the area. Commercial breweries played a big role in the growth of colonies beyond the East Coast.

Unfortunately, commercial breweries were difficult businesses to run. Beer was seen as a lighter alternative to hard liquors, as most beers brewed during this period were no more than 3-4% ABV. In fact, women and children would often drink “small beers,” a very lightly alcoholic beverage made from leftover beer, usually around 1% ABV.

If Colonists wanted higher quality beers, they typically had to be imported from England. However, as the Revolutionary War loomed, imported beers became harder to come by. The war actually pushed Americans to brew a higher-quality beer so they wouldn’t be dependent on the British. In fact, many of the founding fathers started their own breweries or were involved in the beer ingredients supply chain.

The beer revival of the late 1800s

After the war, beer culture in the U.S. stayed relatively stagnant until around 1879. St. Louis became a hub for German immigrants, and these immigrants brought an explosion of beers, mostly lagers.

Dozens of new breweries popped up in St. Louis, including a small operation by Eberhard Anheuser. Eventually, Anheuser’s son-in-law, Adolphus Busch, joined the operation, and the two used technology to expand their business. The Anheuser-Busch purchased refrigerated train cars to help transport their product and employed pasteurization to ship their product coast to coast. Anheuser-Busch became the first national commercial brewery and changed the way beer was distributed forever.

Who Invented Beer? | Saucey Blog (1)

Who invented the most popular beers?

Have you ever wondered who invented your favorite brew? We’ve compiled a list of all your favorite beers and their inventors, so you’ll know who to toast to the next time you crack open a can or bottle.

Budweiser

Budweiser is an incredibly popular American-style lager. It was invented by the Anheuser-Busch company in the mid-1800s. Anheuser-Busch changed the game for beer in America and brought about innovations like refrigerated train cars and pasteurizations. They became the first national brewery in America and introduced America to our beloved lagers.

Guinness

Guinness, a dry Irish stout, was invented by Arthur Guinness. Guinness opened up his brewery in 1752 but didn’t perfect his favorite black beer recipe until around 1799. This is the beer that would become Guinness. In 1803, Arthur’s son, Arthur II, took over the business and helped spread the beer across the globe.

Blue Moon

Blue Moon, a Belgian-style White Wheat beer, began with the vision of a man named Keith Villa. Villa created the recipe after studying beer-making in Brussels. He loved Belgian white beers and decided to make this the basis of his creation. Keith decided to add a citrus peel and coriander to his brew, and this, the fruity Blue Moon we know and love today, was born.

Coors

If your favorite beer is Coors Light, Coors Banquet, or Coors Original Classic American Lager, you owe your thanks to a German immigrant named Adolph Coors. Coors moved to the U.S. and opened a brewery and opened a brewery in Colorado in 1873. The Coors company was the first to use an entirely aluminum can and started the trend all the way back in 1959.

Corona

Corona, the most popular imported beer in the United States, is a Mexican beer, but its recipe actually has German origins. It’s a pilsner beer first developed in 1925 by Grupo Modelo, the largest brewery in Mexico. Grupo Modelo was founded by Antonino Fernández Rodríguez, so if you love Corona, you owe him a thank you.

The takeaway

If you’re a beer lover, you may have wondered who invented your favorite beverage. Beer has been around for centuries, so it’s difficult to attribute the invention to just one person. We know that beer has been enjoyed since ancient times and has influenced culture in major ways throughout history.

If you want to enjoy your favorite brews tonight without having to get off the couch, Saucey has your back. Order today and let Saucey handle the rest.

Who Invented Beer? | Saucey Blog (2024)

FAQs

Who first invented beer? ›

Beer is thought to have been invented by the Sumerians, who lived in what is now Iraq, around 8,000 BC and ancient tablets have been unearthed showing the original brewers were women. The Sumerians even had a goddess of beer, Ninkasi.

Who invented beer and why? ›

The Sumerians

There are some theories that beer brewing happened at Godin Tepe settlement (now in modern-day Iran) as early as 10,000 BCE when agriculture first developed in the region. The people who lived in the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers considered beer a very important part of their diet.

Who invented beer and alcohol? ›

The first beer in the world was brewed by the ancient Chinese around the year 7000 BCE (known as kui). In the west, however, the process now recognized as beer brewing began in Mesopotamia at the Godin Tepe settlement now in modern-day Iran between 3500 - 3100 BCE.

Who created the first prepared recipe for beer? ›

The written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia records the use of beer, and the drink has spread throughout the world; a 3,900-year-old Sumerian poem honouring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, contains the oldest surviving beer-recipe, describing the production of beer from barley bread, and in China, ...

Who made the first beer in America? ›

The earliest record of brewing dates from 1587, and the first commercial brewery in the United States was built by the Dutch West India Company in 1632 in Lower Manhattan on Brewers (later Stone) Street.

Was the first beer ever made? ›

The earliest chemically confirmed barley beer dates from between 3500 and 3100 BC and was discovered at Godin Tepe in the Central Zagros Mountains of Iran. Tablets discovered in Syria dating back to 2500 BC indicate that the city of Elba produced a range of beers.

What is the real history of beer? ›

There is evidence that beer was produced at Göbekli Tepe during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (around 8500 BC to 5500 BC). The earliest clear chemical evidence of beer produced from barley dates to about 3500–3100 BC, from the site of Godin Tepe in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran.

How was beer accidentally invented? ›

The drink was discovered about 8,000 years ago, historians believe, likely the result of accidents in bakeries. "The story goes that in what is now Iraq they used to eat barley," said Bamforth. "Someone got some wet, and it started to sprout. It got softer and easier to digest and chew, and it tasted better."

Why did people invent beer? ›

Beer was a result of the Agricultural Revolution (Opens in new window) (c. 10,000 BC), as fermentation was an accidental by-product of the gathering of wild grain.

What is the oldest beer? ›

Hubertus Brewery

Hubertus Brewery's distinction as the best-oldest beer lies in its unwavering commitment to preserving traditional brewing techniques while delivering exceptional quality since 1454.

What is the oldest beer in the world? ›

Since 1040 beer has been brewed on the Weihenstephan Hill in Freising.

Who discovered drinking? ›

Fermented beverages existed in early Egyptian civilization, and there is evidence of an early alcoholic drink in China around 7000 B.C. In India, an alcoholic beverage called sura, distilled from rice, was in use between 3000 and 2000 B.C.

Which founding fathers brewed beer? ›

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington built breweries on their plantations. In fact, Jefferson's wife brewed 15 gallons of low-alcohol beer every two weeks. But brewing techniques and equipment have changed a great deal since the Founding Fathers were tippling.

What is an interesting fact about beer? ›

Humans all over the world consume 50 billion gallons of beer each year. Budweiser is the world's most famous beer. Beer is one of the oldest beverages in the world, dating back to 5000BC! The Czech Republic was the first country ever to have a beer museum.

What country drinks the most beer? ›

The report ranks consumption volume by country and region. China tops the list, reporting over 38 million kiloliters (some 10 billion gallons) drank in 2021. That's a little over 20 percent of the global market share and more than a 5 percent increase year-over-year.

When did humans start brewing alcohol? ›

Chemical analyses recently confirmed that the earliest alcoholic beverage in the world was a mixed fermented drink of rice, honey, and hawthorn fruit and/or grape. The residues of the beverage, dated ca. 7000–6600 BCE, were recovered from early pottery from Jiahu, a Neolithic village in the Yellow River Valley.

Which is older wine or beer? ›

Wine has existed on Earth for more than 6000 years [1], while beer has existed for over 5000 years [2]. Throughout history, both drinks were produced in Ancient Egypt and regions of Mesopotamia.

Was beer invented in China? ›

History. Production and consumption of beer in China has occurred for around nine thousand years, with recent archaeological findings showing that Chinese villagers were brewing beer-type alcoholic drinks as far back as 7000 BC on small and individual scales.

Who invented vodka? ›

Russia and Poland were the first countries to produce vodka. The first recipe was made in Russia toward the end of the 9th century.

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