Northern America


Most American researchers are convinced that the Amerindians of North America drank fermented beverages before the arrival of the settlers in Quebec or in Plymouth Bay. But against all odds and despite the widespread cultivation of maize and beans, no beer! Recent archaeological research shows an opposite view for the southwestern regions. The North American bibliography on Amerindian beers is therefore very meagre. By contrast, studies abound on the development of brewing from the 17th century onwards.


  1. Abbot Patrick, (1996), American Indian and Alaska native aboriginal use of alcohol in the United States.
    • A very good recent compilation on the topic. Since then, some archaeological discoveries have shown that Native Americans were brewing beer before the arrival of Europeans in North America (Borek 2007, Crown 2018).
  2. Arnold John P. 1911, Origin and History of Beer and Brewing. From prehistoric times to the beginning of brewing science and technology. Alumni Association of the Wahl-Henius Institute of Fermentation, Chicago.
    • Most of this essay is about the American brewery. Quite outdated for its perspectives on beer global history.
  3. Arnold John P., Penman Frank 1933, History of the Brewing Industry and Brewing Science in America. Chicago.
    • Complements the 1911 book and celebrates the triumph of the American brewing industry.
  4. Baron Stanley 1962, Brewed in America. The History of Beer and Ale in the United States. Boston, Toronto.
  5. Blitz John 1993, Big Pots for Big Shots: Feasting and Storage in a Mississippian Community, American Antiquity 58, 80:96.
  6. Borek Theodore, Mowry Curtis, Dean Glenna (2007), Analysis of Modern and Ancient Artifacts for the Presence of Corn Beer.
    • One of the first detection of archaïc beer done in the US. It concerns the maize beer brewed by the Ancestral Puebloans in Southwestern America  around the 10th century. No mean achievement. It proves that the northern Amerindians were brewing beer before the first contact with Europeans.
  7. Cherrington, E. H. (1925). Aborigines of North America. In E. H. Cherrington (Ed.), Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem, Vol. 1 (pp. 3-42).
  8. Cobbett William 1833, Cottage economy containing information relative to the brewing of beer ... to which is added The poor man's friend .... New-York.
  9. Coxe Stevenson Matilda (1908), Ethnobotany of the Zuňi Indians, Bureau of American Ethnology, Thirtieth Annual Report.
  10. Crown Patricia, Hurst Jeffrey (2009), Evidence of cacao use in the Prehispanic American Southwest. PNAS 2009.
  11. Crown Patricia (2012), Emerson Thomas, Jiyan Gu, Hurst Jeffrey, Pauketat Timothy, Ward Timothy, Ritual Black Drink consumption at Cahokia - PNAS 2012
  12. Crown Patricia & al. (2015), Ritual drinks in the pre-Hispanic US Southwest and Mexican Northwest. PNAS 2015.
  13. Crown Patricia (2018), Drinking performance and politics in pueblo-bonito-chaco canyon. American Antiquity 83(3).
    • The chronology of drinking vessel forms shows that around the 12th century the role of beer becomes prominent.
  14. Devereux, G. (1948), The function of alcohol in Mohave society. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 9, 207-251.
  15. Durzan don J. 2009, Arginine, scurvy and Cartier's 'tree of life' Spruce Beer, Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine   Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 5.
  16. Fahey David M.2009, Old-Time Breweries: Academic and Breweriana Historians, OhioHistory 116, 101:121.
  17. Ferland Catherine 2005, De la bière et des hommes. Culture matérielle et aspects socioculturels de la brasserie au Canada (17e-18e siècles) (archives), Terrains & Travaux 2005/2, N° 9, 32:50.
  18. Havard Valery (1896), Drink Plants of the North American Indians. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol. 23 Feb. 29.
    • One of the first compilations on the brewing traditions of the North American Indians. It was believed in the 19th century that the Indians had discovered fermented drinks through the Europeans!
  19. Heidegger Stack Martin 1998, Liquid Bread: an Examination of the American Brewing Industry, 1865-1940. PhD Notre Dame, Indiana.
  20. Hrdlička Aleš (1904), Method of preparing tesvino among the White River Apaches. American Anthropology, 6, 190-191.
    • A noteworthy technical study on the brewing of this maize beer drunk by the Apaches in the 19th century and whose tradition is linked to the Amerindians of northern Mexico.
  21. Hrdlička Aleš, Physiological and Medical Observations among the Indians of Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico (Bulletin, Bureau of American Ethnology, No. 34, 1908), 26-29.
  22. Izumi Ishi 2003, Alcohol and Politics in the Cherokee Nation before Removal, Ethnohistory 50(4), 671:695.
  23. Jones Olive R. 1986, Cylindrical English Wine and Beer Bottles 1735-1850, National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Environment Canada-Parks, Ottawa.
  24. Kalm Pehr 1751, Pehr Kalm's Description of Spruce Beer, translated by Esther Louise Larsen, Agricultural History 22(3) 1948, 142:143.
    • Original article in Swedish published in 1751 by the Kongl. Svenska Academien, Handlingar, 12 (1751), and translated by L. Larsen. Kalm describes in detail the Amerindian, French and English methods. Where we learn that spruce beer has never been a beer, but a fermented decoction of spruce twigs and sugar.
  25. Knight Vernon James 2001, Feasting and the Emergence of Platform Mound Ceremonialism in Eastern North America, In Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power, M. Dietler and B. Hayden (ed.), Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 311:333.
  26. Lockhart Bill 2001, The Beer Bottles and Breweries at Fort Stanton, New Mexico.
    • The micro-history of the brewers of Fort Stanton joined, from 1866, the great revolution of the brewery. Bottles of beer thrown by the thousands at the time in dumps bear witness to these upheavals: railway lines, bottling, mass production, the advent of commercial brands, etc.
  27. Madsen William 1964, The Alcoholic Agringado, American Anthropologist 66(2), 355:361.
  28. Mancall Peter C. 1995, Deadly Medecine. Indians and Alcohol in Early America. Cornell University, New York.
  29. Musson Robert A. 2011, Brewing Beer Since 1829. A pictorial saga of the D. G. Yuengling & Son Brewing Company in Pottsville, Pennsylvania (2nd edition). Zeep Publications, Ohio, USA.
  30. Olsen Stanley J. 1965,Liquor Bottles from Florida Military Sites, American Antiquity 31(1), 105:107.
  31. Pauketat T., Kelly L., Fritz G., Lopinot N., Elias S., Hargrave E. 2002, The residues of feasting and public ritual at early Cahokia. American Antiquity 67 : 257–279.
  32. Potter J. M. 2000, Pots, parties, and politics: Communal feasting in the American southwest. American Antiquity 65 : 471–492.
  33. Romieux Yannick 1993, L'arbre de vie qui a guéri du scorbut les compagnons de Jacques Cartier : Emmanuel Bévillon, Jacques Cartier, le scorbut et la bière de sapinette, Revue dHistoire de la Pharmacie 81, 113:114.
  34. Salem, F.W. 1880, Beer, its history and its economic value as a national beverage, Hartford C.T.
  35. Smith Gregg 1998, Beer in America. The Early Years — 1587-1840. Beer's Role in the Settling of America and the Birth of a Nation. Siris Book, Colorado.
  36. Thomann G. 1886, Effects of beer upon those who make and drink it. A statistical sketch. United States Brewers' Association. New York.
  37. Trasher Ronald Ray 1999, A social control explanation of relationship between serious crime and the public consumption of beer. PhD Oklahoma State University.
  38. Waddell, Jack O and Everett, Michael W, (Eds.), 1979, Drinking behavior among southwestern Indians: an anthropological
  39. Waddell Jack (1980), The Use of Intoxicating Beverages Among the Natives of the Greater Aboriginal Southwest, in Drinking behavior among southwestern Indians : an anthropological perspective (ed. Jack O. Waddell, Michael W. Everett, Donald Nelson Brown), University of Arizona Press.
    • When and how the brewing traditions of central Mexico, especially corn beer, spread to the southwest of the North America?
  40. Weston La Barre (1938), Native American Beers, American Anthropologist 40-2.


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22/05/2020  Christian Berger