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Lori Levy
Beer Institute

Resident Associate Program Will Focus on the History of Beers in the U.S.

Washington, DC, January 24, 2002 - From the ancient nomads, to Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, to the more than 80 million Americans who enjoy it responsibly each year, beer has a long, rich tradition in our history. And beginning January 28, 2002, the Smithsonian Institute's Resident Associate Program will highlight this extraordinary history in a six-week class on the History of Beers in the U.S. Beer Institute, the national trade association that represents brewers and suppliers to the industry, is co-sponsoring the event.

"Beer has wonderful history- from the discovery by the ancient Egyptians, to its inclusion in religious rituals, to its use in moments of triumph and celebration and fellowship, no drink has contributed more to man's enjoyment than beer," said Jeff Becker, president, Beer Institute.

Anthropologists suspect that beer's history began many thousands of years ago when a sudden rainstorm formed a pool of warm water where grain was stored by nomadic tribes. In a short time the grain fermented from the warm rain, turning the water into a thick dark liquid. Some adventurous soul among these primitive people sampled the liquid, and found that it tasted good.

The history and industry has come a long way since that time. Becker explained, "Today, there are nearly 1600 breweries in the U.S. that produce more than 2800 styles of beer. The industry employs more than 2.5 million people, and produces goods and services totaling more than $55 billion annually."

The six-week History of Beers in the U.S. includes

  • Jan. 28, 2002 -- The First 3.5 Billion Years - A history of brewing, from the evolution of yeast to 21st century self-chilling cans and bio-engineered ingredients
  • Feb. 4, 2002 -- The Lager Revolution - Klaus Zastrow, former brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch discusses the origins of this popular style
  • Feb. 11, 2002 -- Heirloom Breweries: America's Old Time Regionals - A panel of veteran brewers discusses issues related to regional breweries
  • Feb. 25, 2002 -- The Craft Beer Revolution - Some say a small brewing company in Oregon started the craft beer craze which today encompasses nearly 1500 small brewers. Learn about these different beer styles.
  • Mar. 4, 2002 -- Homebrewers: The Driving Force - The author of The Brewer's Companion will discuss how homebrewers inspired the craft first craft breweries
  • Mar. 11, 2002 -- Craft Brewing's Generation Y - John Mallett, production manager, Kalamazoo Brewing Company talks about the 'new generation' of craft brewers

Greg Kitscock, author of the upcoming book, Ale to the Chief, and Jim Dorsch, publisher of American Brewer and Mid-Atlantic Brewing News are coordinating the program. All classes will be held at the Brickskeller Down Home Saloon, 1523 22nd St NW. For more information on this and other classes, please visit, or call 202-357-3030.

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Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility.


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