Global economic and social history of brewing (world / continents).


Only global historical studies of beer are listed below, according to our definition of beer which encompasses all kinds of beer (brewed with oats, wheat, cassava, maize, millet, barley, rice, rye, etc.). These overall studies are not so numerous. A true global History of Beer and Brewing remains to be written. For detailled studies by continents or by world brewing areas, please refer to the corresponding pages (Countries or bewing areas).


  1. Aasved Mikal John 1988, Alcohol, drinking, and intoxication in preindustrial society: theoretical, nutritional, and religious considerations. PhD. University of California, Santa Barbara (1051 pages).
    • A very broad overview of fermented beverages since their origin. The anthropological approach is fairly comprehensive, massively comparative of the many roles played by these drinks in various social contexts.
  2. Arnold John P. 1911, Origin And History of Beer And Brewing From Prehistoric Times to the Beginning of Brewing Science And Technology (reprint Edition 2005 by
    • A very serious and deep study with documentary resources and knowledge of the time. As usual, a history of the brewery which is driven toward a Western industrial apotheosis. The historical development of the Asian, African, and Amerindian brewing traditions are ignored.
  3. Arthur John W. 2022, Beer. A Global Journey through the Past and Present. Oxford University Press.
    • A broad overview of the social economy linked to traditional beers in human communities around the world (Asia, Africa, America, Europe). The social economy of the beer is manifested in rituals, social roles (young/old, male/female, dominated/dominant, living/ancestors, ...), the compensation for collective work with pots of beer, the beer as a healthy and enriched beverage, the beer drinking etiquette at weddings, birth ceremonies, funerals, and many others social roles played by the traditional beers. The book is based on the latest research and publications. Its updated and very rich bibliography reflects the boom and diversification of research on beer, brewing traditions and techniques over the last three decades. As a specialist in the Gamo people (south-western Ethiopia) and a professor of anthropology, John Arthur knows what he is talking about. This book is one of the best historical and anthropological surveys of so-called 'traditional' (non-commercial) beers in the world..
  4. Bamforth Charles 1998, Beer: Tap into the Art and Science of Brewing, Plenum Press, New York.
    • The biochemical principles of the brewery vulgarized without simplification, with the clarity and quality of the illustrations that are a Charles Barmforth's signature.
  5. Bamforth Charles 2008, Grape vs. Grain. Cambridge University Press, NY.
    • A classical comparison between the civilizations of wine and beer in history, as far as we can and must pitting one against the other.
  6. Bamforth Charles 2011, Beer Is Proof God Loves Us : Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing, Pearson Education, Inc.
    • A very open and lucid talk about the future of the brewery, its technological fundamentals, the profound changes that lie ahead, and the diverse cultures of beer in the world.
  7. Battcock Mike, Azam-Ali Sue 1998, Fermented Fruits and Vegetables. A global perspective (FAO).
    • One comprehensive publication from FAO about the role of fermentations in traditional and indigenous food. It opens the horizon of traditional fermented products, including beer, which have not faded with the ongoing industrialization in emerging countries.
  8. Berger Christian, Duboë-Laurence Philippe 1985, Le Livre de l'Amateur de Bière. Laffont éd.
    • A book that gave its place to brewing traditions in Asia, Africa, and Amerindian cultures, and reported already few decades ago that sake is a true beer from rice, not a wine.
  9. Bierwelt,Ausstellung 11. April bis 11. Oktober 1992, redigiert von Conrad Seidl und Willibald Katzinger, Stadtmuseum Linz – Nordico, Linz, Österreich.
    • A very rich exhibition catalog on beer history held in Linz (Austria) in year 1992. Articles on the brewery in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, South America, Black Africa, Celtic Switzerland, and the Middle Ages. Other articles cover Central Europe: Germany, Bohemia, Tyrol, Salzburg, Linz. Original artwork.
  10. Bray T. L. 2003, The archaeology and politics of food and feasting in early states and empires. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.
    • This book does not directly focus on beer, but addresses, among other issues, the role of fermented beverages in the social and political contruction of the first states in human history. The agrarian economic base of these social structures implies that beer has been the first fermented beverage par excellence. Wine plays a marginal role, although the Western cultural roots grant to the Greek and Latin Bacchic traditions an overvalued role.
  11. Byles Jeffrey C. 1997, The Fermentable Dirigible and Other Essay on Beer. Master D., College of Arts and Science, University of Alaska Anchorage.
    • Some interesting topics treated on a literary fashion in order to rehabilitate the image of beer.
  12. Corran H. S. 1975, A History of Brewing, David & Charles, Newton Abbot.
    • A great classic for the history of beer in Northern Europe. Revisions are needed for the ancient history of the brewery, in view of recent archaeological discoveries and the documentary resources available nowadays.
  13. Delbrück Max, Struve E. 1903, Beiträge zur Geschichte des Bieres und der Brauerei, Paul Parey Verlag, Berlin.
    • One of the first attempts to establish the history of beer on a general definition of that fermented beverage, to overstep the cultural boundaries of the European beer world, and to find its origin in antiquity. To be compared with Adam Maurizio researches on beer universal history, a specialist almost contemporaneous with Delbrück.
  14. Dudley R. 2002, Fermenting fruit and the historical ecology of ethanol ingestion. Is alcoholism in modern humans an evolutionary hangover?, Addiction 97, 381:88.
    • The metabolism of human and hominids is ethanol-compatible. Is it a biological fact of the species ? A more recent acquisition gained since we are omnivores? Or a more recent adaptation to social life without biological basis?
  15. Ghalioungui P. 1979. Fermented Beverages in Antiquity. In Fermented Food Beverages in Nutrition, ed. Clifford F. Gastineau, William J. Darby, Thomas B. Turner, Academic Press, 4:19.
    • An introduction to beer and wine in Egypt and recent pre-Islamic Middle East (nothing on Sumer, Elam, Akkad, and Babylon). Some interesting illustrations (jar with beer residues (sprouted grains?), beer strainers, fresco of the tomb of Ti.
  16. Grässe Theodore 1872, Bier Studien. Ernst und Scherz. Geschichte des Bieres und seiner Verbereitung über den Erdball. Dresden.
    • A very advanced and very well documented studies at the time. Note the sixth chapter: "Das Bier im Orient, Africa, America and Autralia" where the author speaks already of chicha and bouza !
  17. Hébert Jean-Paul, Griffon Dany 2013, Des bières et des hommes. Editions Quae.
    • Des bières et des hommes, 2013First e-book dedicated to beer, published by two specialists of the traditional beers in the world. Its enriched illustrations, videos, and hyperlinks offer to readers a fun and educational stroll. This e-book is an invite to better understand the crucial contributions of the beer in the History of mankind, its economical development, and some major scientific discoveries.
  18. Hell Bertrand 1982, L'Homme et la Bière. Editions J-P Gyss.
    • A new look at beer as a drink of strong symbolic charge. The cycle of the resurrection of the grain through the malting and germination, the drink of immortality of the Northern European peoples, the sociology of beer seen by an ethnologist. The documentary base used by B. Hell relies mainly on the German cultural area in the Middle Ages, but its analysis goes far beyond these geographical and historical boundaries.
  19. Höffmann F. 1956, 5000 Jahre Bier. Metzner, Berlin.
    • The history of beer begins on the banks of the Euphrates and the Nile. The thing seemed clear, until we find something new on the banks of the Yellow River and the Indus.
  20. Hopf Maria 1976, Bier. I. Allgemeines zur Bier Herstellung und älteren Gesschichte des Bieres. In: Heinrich Beck et al. (eds), Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, Bake-Billigkeit, 2, 530:533.
    • A short history of beer in ancient times from Mesopotamia and Egypt. Hypothesis of a transmission of the brewery from Near East to Europe, now contradicted by recent archaeological excavations (Spain, Germany, Hungary).
  21. Hornsey Ian S. 2003, A History of beer and brewing. Royal Society of Chemistry, London.
    • The most complete historical account on the subject. An extensive bibliography. Essential and unavoidable. We may regret that the author sticks to the history of beer from barley and wheat, although the book begins with a technical presentation which generalizes the brewing, and therefore the beer to all sources starch in the world.
  22. Horton Donald 1943, The Functions of Alcohol in Primitive Societies: A Cross-cultural Survey, Quaterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 4, 199:320.
  23. Kavanagh Thomas 1994, Archeologica Parameters for the Beginnings of Beer, Brewing Techniques Sep/Oct.
    • Summary of the "Braidwood Symposium" + article from Katz and Voigt. Kavanagh's own position about the origin of beer (Cf. ref. MASCA).
  24. King F. A. 1947, Beer Has a History, Hutchinson, London.
    • A classical data recovery and survey at the time: Egyptian, Greek, and Latin sources ... See Max Nelson for a more recent and comprehensive review.
  25. Maurizio Adam 1932, Die Geschichte unserer Pflanzennahrung von den Urzeiten bis zur Gegenwart, (trad.) Histoire de l'alimentation végétale de la préhistoire jusqu'à nos jours. Réd. 1970 Payot Coll. Bibliothèque scientifique.
    • A general work of the author (see Maurizio 1933 History of fermented beverages). 2nd part: harvesting of wild grasses. Food gatherers. The sour porridge and its food descendants. Maurizio argues that beer, leavened bread, and fermented foods are advanced forms of primitive sour soups from vegetable. Part 7: The acidic fermentation of dough, yeast, spiced breads. Some Maurizio's presuppositions were reviewed and amended by archaeologists and ethnologists. However, Maurizio's framewok remains strong : foods and drinks have changed since prehistoric times. These changes are not the result of chance. They originated from the intersection of technical constraints (biochemistry), economic constraints (beer = beverage of social exchanges), and finally the evolution of mentalities. Maurizio is among the first authors who argue that these three dynamics imply that fermented beverages are a continuous social creation of the human history, not a data per se.
  26. Maurizio Adam Dr. 1933, Geschichte der gegorenen Getränke. Ed. P. Parey, Berlin (reprint Sändig Reprint Verlag 1993).
    • Very important chapters on the early history of beer in relation to agriculture. Maurizio remains faithful to his historical and technical approach: classify drinks depending on the source of food (grain, fruit, honey, sugar, roots, berries) and analyze the economic and social constraints that result. Essential for the study of acidic-brewing techniques and beer-bread hydrolysis. This berwing method characterizes the traditional beers of Central Europe based on wheat, barley, rye, oats, potatoes (kwasz, Braga / braschka, Boza, kiesel / geiselitz). Professor of botany at the Academy of Lwow (Poland), Maurizio was a specialist in plant nutrition. He followed closely the archaeological discoveries in the Middle East of his colleagues working in Vienna or Berlin. Chap. V. Die gegorenen Getränke im entwickelten Landbau. (91:103) Chap. VI. Die Malz- und Brotbiere der alten Welt. (103:110) Chap. VII. Überreste der Urbrauerei, das Bier im Altertum und das Hopfenzeitalter. (110:131). Chap VIII. Weitere – außer Gagel und Porst – vor dem Hopfen benutzte Würzen. (131:141) Chap. XI. Das Hopfenbier. (141:151).
  27. McGovern & Badler 1993, The First Wine and Beer: Chemical Detection of Ancient Fermented Beverages; Analytical Chemistry 65: 408A-413A.
    • Scientific principles and methods to analyze and determine the composition of ancient fermented beverages, mainly wine and beer.
  28. McGovern P., Flemmings S., Katz S. 1995, The Origins and Ancient History of Wine. University of Pennsylvania Museum.
    • To be read by those who compare the story of beer and that of wine. At what point in distant times these two fermented beverages became independent and has evolved as specialized beverages, although rooted in the mixed fermented beverages ?
  29. McGovern Patrick E. 2003, Ancient Wine, the search for the origin of viniculture. Princeton University Press, NJ.
    • Resumes and enriches the author's previous results and his thinking about fermented beverages (McGovern 1995).
  30. Mc Govern Patrick 2009, Uncorking the Past. The Quest for wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages.
    • The origin of fermented beverages, according to the analysis of their chemical traces found by archaeologists. The state of the art by the one of top world specialists.
  31. McGrew William 2011, Natural Ingestion of Ethanol by Animals: Why ?, in Liquid Bread. Beer and Brewing in Cross-Cultural Perspective ed. by Wulf Schiefenhövel & Hellen Macbeth, 13:20.
  32. Pattinson Ronald 2009, Numbers !, Mini Book Series volume VII.
    • A rare book regarding its content, a compilation of brewer's notes in tabular form: year of the brew batch, name of brewery, beer brand, beer type, acidity (PH), initial density (wort), final density, color, ABV, attenuation. In all, 284 pages of tables and figures from few British breweries. The very heart of the beer brewing art since the Sumerian brewers who already wrote 5000 years ago similar brewing tables on clay tablets. Although this material grazes the indigestible for a non-specialist, it is a jewel for a beer historian.
  33. Riveron Charles 1940, De l'origine des boissons fermentées et de leur importance dans l'antiquité.
    • A tired presentation on the ancient history of beer and wine (Middle East, Greece, Rome, Celts and Germans).
  34. Roggan Ingo 1979, Bibliographie des Brauwesens 2. 1925-1975. Umfangreiche Personen- Institutionen-/Firmen- und Sachregister, fester Einband, 370 p.
    • See Schoellhorn Franz 1928.
  35. Schienerl Jutta 1998, Viele Völker – viele Biersorten, in Gerstensaft und Hirsebier, 5000 Jarhe Biergenuß, Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Nordwestdeutschland Helft 20, Schloßmuseum Jever Heflt 19, Oldenburg, 137:165.
    • A broad overview of traditional beers in the world, from Peru to South Africa, from Brazil to Ethiopia. Numerous and genuine illustrations.
  36. Schoellhorn Franz 1928, Bibliographie des Brauwesen 4 tomes 436 p., Gesellschaft für die Geschichte und Bibliographie des Brauwesens, Institut für Gärungsgewerbe, Berlin.
    • All German literature on beer and brewery until 1928. Studies and books in ten other European languages ??have also their place. What was published between 1930 and 1941 is found inside Abdenda II to X and XII in 10 volumes. XI = Abdendum of corrections and additions to the first four volumes. An impressive bibliographical sum, continued by Ingo Roggan for years 1925-1975.
  37. Sigaut François 1997, La diversité des bières: questions sur l'identification, l'histoire et la géographie récente d'une produit. In Techniques et economie antiques et médiévales : le Temps de l'innovation, D. Meeks & D. Garci (éd.), Errance, 82:87.
    • A few right questions: how to identify the traditional beers, and especially how to define it through its many faces since ancient times ?
  38. Sinclair Thomas, Janas Sinclair Carol 2010, Bread, Beer and the Seeds of Change.
    • One of the few essays which draws all the conclusions of the technological link between ancient grains, bread and beer. Condensed (193 pages) and potent. No examination of the sources of starch other than grains (cassava, potato, taro, etc.) having also played an important role in brewing history.
  39. Vallée Bert 1997, Alcohol and the development of human civilization, Proc. Royal Institute of Great Britain 68, 125:154. 
    • Are the fermented drinks one of the engines of human cultures and social evolution ? Or a simple by-product of social behaviors, more or less desirable ?
  40. Yoshida Shuji 2003, Alcoholic Beverages and Narcotics in the History of Civilization. In Japanese civilization in the Modern World XVII Alcoholic Beverages, Senri Ethnological Studies 64, Tadao Umesao, Shuji Yoshida, Paul Schalow (eds), 137:150.
    • Thoughts about the places and the roles of fermented beverages and psychotropic.


Anciens essais & collectors.

  1. Bickerdyke J. 1886, The Curiosities of Ale and Beer, Leadenhall Press, London.
    • A split that will become classic for beer historians between ale (original beer from the British Isles) and hopped beer coming from the continent in the Middle Ages.
  2. Death J. 1887, The Beer of the Bible, Trubner & Co., London.
    • 150 years ago, the author already raised the question of the real fermented beverages drank by the peoples of the Bible, beyond the pervasiveness of wine mentionned in the religious texts.
  3. Emerson Edward Randolph 1908, Beverages, Past and Present. An Historical Sketch of their Production, together with a Study of the Customs Connected with their Use. 2 vols. London & New York.
    • A general survey covering all fermented and distilled beverages. Emerson has made a specialty of historical studies about wine in all countries and cultures. Regularly reprinted or readable on the web.
  4. Forbes Clarence A. 1951, Beer: A Sober Account, the Classical Journal 46(6) (The Classical Association of the Middle West and South, Inc.), 281:300.
    • A survey of Greek and Latin sources addressed to very literate men. Very classic! (Again, see Max Nelson for a more recent and comprehensive review of classical greek and latin sources.
  5. Michel Karl 1906, Beiträge zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des Bierbrauereien von vor Christi Geburt bis zur GegenwartEine Darstellung in Wort und Bild über die Einführung und Umwendung der Wissenschaft in der Gewerben unter besonderer Berüchsichtigung der wichtigsten Vorgänge im Braugewerbe von ältester bis jüngster Zeit, Band I, II, III, München.
    • A very extensive survey of physics, chemistry and biology applied to brewing, especially the technical brewing processes in Germany since the 18th century, with details of all kinds of beer. Karl Michael was Direktor of Michel'schen Braulehranstalt in Munich.
  6. Morewood Samuel 1824, An ESSAY on the INVENTIONS AND CUSTOMS of both ancients and moderns in the use of INEBRIATING LIQUORS interpreted with interesting anecdotes … Belfast, Irland.
    • Morewood was a Surveyor of Excise to the service of His Majesty. Collect duties on fermented beverages can lead to historical studies. Full of stories about all the peoples of the world and their drinks, often beer. No systematic treatment, just a compilation of difficult sources to check nowadays.
22/05/2020  Christian Berger