The world history of beer and brewing is still in its infancy. Beer-Studies will put many articles online that will enrich it and probably change some perspectives.

It is presumptuous to draw conclusions so quickly.


A critical question is looming on our horizon.

Is there a kind of universal brewery, a human activity centred on beer, handed down over thousands of years, which would transcend cultural differences, lifestyles and eras?

If the answer is yes, then the western industrial brewery is only part of a great human heritage. Until now, it has overshadowed the larger and more prestigious history of its great family. The great brewing traditions of its cousins in Asia, Africa or South America have as much to say about the past of beer in general. The comparisons are possible and even necessary to understand the great history of fermented beverages.

But if you think that each brewing tradition is independent on the globe, isolated in its own time and technical field, then the history of beer may start somewhere in Europe at the end of the 18th century and ignore all the fermented beverages that preceded it, or see them as proto-beers. Some beer historians ignore everything that precedes the birth of the brewing industry. From their point of view, beer was born in Europe in the 18th century and can only have the appearance, taste and brewing methods of today's industrial brewery. The history of beer then boils down to describing the development of the latter, its economic and social impacts. 


We have to decide. The answer determines the direction that the History of Beer and Brewing is taking in the world. Beer-Studies has chosen the first option.



[1] We do not overlook recent published studies on the history of beer in the world. Without these valuable contributions, Beer-Studies would not have been possible. But most of them tell a world history from the point of view of industrial beer alone. They ignore or very quickly overlook the other world brewing traditions.

11/10/2012  Christian Berger