Food & Dining

Beer was part of the founding of our country


The July 4 holiday is just around the corner, meaning that Americans will gather with friends and family to celebrate the birth of our nation and enjoy the long — and plenty of beer. So here are some facts about beer and the July 4, according to the Beer Institute trade group.

▪ Last year Americans spent an estimated $1 billion on beer to celebrate Independence Day1, and beer will be served to many of the 64 percent of Americans of legal drinking age who are planning to attend a cookout of barbecue this weekend.2

▪ Thomas Jefferson was said to have composed the first draft of the Declaration of Independence over a cold draft at the Indian Queen tavern in Philadelphia.

▪ The first colonial brewery was built in 1632 on Brewers Street in New Amsterdam, now New York City. Today, there are more than 5,500 licensed breweries in the United States, according to the federal government.

▪ George Washington was an accomplished brewmaster and he maintained a private brewery at his home in Mount Vernon.

▪ During Colonial times the American brewing industry was so well established that George Washington, Patrick Henry and other founding fathers argued for a boycott of English beer imports. In fact, the Boston Tea Party almost became the Boston Beer Party.

▪ As commander of the Continental Army, George Washington proclaimed that every one of his troops would receive a quart of beer with his daily rations.

▪ On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation allowing people to buy, sell and drink beer containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol by weight (or 4.05 percent by volume) in states that had enacted their own laws allowing such sales, effectively putting an end to prohibition for beer. The law went into effect on April 7 that year, and April 7 is now celebrated as National Beer Day.

▪ In 1862, President Lincoln signed legislation to tax beer to help finance the government during the Civil War. Today, federal, state and local governments collect more than $48.5 billion in tax revenue from the beer industry. That includes business taxes, sales taxes, consumption taxes, and state and federal excise taxes.

▪ Beer still remains important today as roughly 1.75 million Americans have jobs as a result of the American beer industry, and these jobs are contributing nearly $79 billion in wages and benefits each year to the American economy.