Researchers now know more about the history of beer. They recently discovered that the popular and beloved brew — lager — was made by accident…and you can say that it changed the world forever!
The History of Beer
Beer has been around for a long time. When it comes to the history of beer, the earliest evidence of beer production can be traced back to China (around 7,000 BCE), according to the World History Encyclopedia — though on the Western side of the world, the Sumerians of Mesopotamia also brewed beer (sometime around 3,500 BCE); they found traces of beer brewing in the Godin Tepe site.
Beer used to be considered a “barbarian” drink by the Greeks and Romans; to them, they preferred wine. It wasn’t until the Germans perfected the art of brewing beer — that it changed the history of beer, as the booze they crafted is what we can now drink today.
From Ale to Lager: A Mishap That Turned Into a “Meisterstück” (Masterpiece)
The beer that the Germans typically made then was ale; which is still available today — but lager is now more popular. Lager, on the other hand, was “accidentally” created. According to researchers from the Technical University in Munich, in their published FEMS Yeast Research paper, lager most likely first originated in a court brewery (called Hofbräuhaus) of Maximilian the Great, elector of Bavaria, Munich back in 1602.
All types of beer have to go through a fermentation process — and yeast is needed for beer to ferment. Ale’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is a top-fermenting yeast that thrives in warm temperatures. Lager yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus), however, is a bottom-fermenting yeast. But back then, based on the researchers’ recent discovery, the parent of the modern-day lager yeast is, allegedly, Saccharomyces eubayanus.
When Saccharomyces eubayanus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae “mated,” it was only then that Saccharomyces pastorianus was created. According to Dr. Mathias Hutzler, a beverage microbiologist and lead author of the study, “Saccharomyces pastorianus, a hybrid resulting from the mating of top-fermenting ale yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and cold-tolerant Saccharomyces eubayanus, is responsible for the production of bottom-fermented lager beer. This mating occurred around the start of the 17th century,”
From the History of Beer to Today’s Beloved Booze
According to Study Finds, 90% of the beer that’s consumed today is lager-style — and beer is consumed around the world. Some nations, however, like beer more than others.
Here are the top 10 countries that consume the greatest volume of beer (in gallons), based on World Popular Review’s data.
- China — 9,533,441
- United States — 6,367,867
- Brazil — 3,657,990
- Russia — 2,284,032
- Mexico — 2,189,194
- Germany — 2,046,277
- Japan — 1,166,584
- United Kingdom — 1,079,935
- Vietnam — 1,015,742
- Spain — 1,007,816
Per capita consumption is a different story, however:
- Czech Republic – 140 liters/year
- Austria – 107.8 liters/year
- Romania – 100.3 liters/year
- Germany – 99 liters/year
- Poland – 97.7
- Namibia – 95.5
- Ireland – 92.9
- Spain – 88.8
- Croatia – 85.5
- Latvia – 81.4
The United States comes in at rank #20 for per capita beer consumption (72.7 liters/year). Mexico places 22nd (70.5 liters/year), and our neighbors to the north don’t represent well at all in the beer drinking sport, with only 53.5 liters/year, occupying place #36.
Each State’s Preferred Beer Brand
The USA loves beer. And California has the most breweries in the country — the state houses around 1,100 breweries, according to Facts.net. However, each state has different beer brand preferences.
Here are the most popular brands of beer per US state, based on another World Population Review census.
Nebraska Black Betty
|Arizona:||Dos Equis||Nevada:||Coors Light|
|California:||Budweiser||New Jersey:||Miller Lite|
Denver Beer Co.
|New Mexico:||La Cumbre|
|Connecticut:||Bud Light||New York:||Budweiser|
|Delaware:||Dogfish Head||North Carolina:||Bud Light|
|Florida:||Stella Artois||North Dakota:||Fargo|
|Indiana:||Miller Lite||Pennsylvania:||Bud Light|
|Kansas:||Coors Light||South Carolina:||Budweiser|
|Mississippi:||Lazy Magnolia||West Virginia:||Budweiser|
Other Beer Facts
- The largest brewery in the world is in Freising, Germany — it’s called Weihenstephan.
- Anheuser-Busch InBev is the biggest beer producer in the world — they have about 400 beer brands; they own Budweiser, Hoegaarden, Corona, Stella Artois, Leffe, and hundreds more.
- The most commonly purchased brands of beer are Budweiser, followed by Heineken, Bud Light, Stella Artois, and then Corona.
- Former President Barack Obama was the first President to have beer brewed in The White House.
- Beer is the third most consumed drink in the world. (Water and tea are the two most commonly consumed beverages.)
- Egyptians made beer in order to make the water from the Nile drinkable
- Another interesting fact related to the history of beer in Egypt: builders of The Great Pyramids were paid with beer.
Cheers! Prost! Santé! Kanpai! Salute!
Based on the history of beer, people of the past seem to have loved the malt just as much as we do today. Drinking beer, however, is almost only half the fun — the other half is the bond and fun conversations that we share with our loved ones as we toast to different celebrations and optimistic endeavors.
However, do drink responsibly — and in moderation! Never drink and drive!