Tuesday marks the Fourth of July, a quintessentially American holiday when friends, neighbors, and family will celebrate the birth of our nation. To mark the United States’ 241st birthday, the Beer Institute—a national trade association for the American brewing industry, representing brewers of all sizes, as well as beer importers and industry suppliers—has announced its annual “Top Ten Facts about July 4th, America’s founders, and beer.”
“From being the beverage that John Adams wrote home about while he was at the Continental Congress to being on hand for picnics and barbecues, beer is a staple of both American history and our economy,” said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute. “Early colonists recruited brewers to come to the New World, and today the American beer industry creates over 2.2 million jobs. Many Americans will enjoy a beer as they join neighbors, family and friends to celebrate July 4th, and I hope people take time to enjoy the pride and tradition that goes into every pour of beer and choose to drink responsibly this holiday and every day of the year.”
1. In 1587, Virginia colonists used corn to brew the first recorded ale in the colony. Today, brewers use a number of grains to make beer, including barley, corn, millet, oats, rye, sorghum and wheat.
2. The first shipment of beer arrived in the Virginia colony from England in 1607. Over 400 years later and Americans still love imported beer; in 2016, Americans consumed over 33 million barrels of beer imported to the United States from across the globe.
3. Beer has been a job creator in the United States since its inception. In 1609, “Help Wanted” advertisements appeared in London seeking brewers for the Virginia colony. This tradition of beer being integral to America’s economy continues. The beer industry today supports over 2.2 million jobs in the United States.
4. Our first president George Washington not only drank beer himself and served it to his guests, but it was also one of the items provided for voters when he was a candidate for political office. It must have helped because when Washington was president he habitually “had a silver pint cup or mug of beer placed by his plate, which he drank while dining.”
5. During his time in Philadelphia in 1774 to participate in the First Continental Congress, John Adams – who would become the second president of the United States –wrote to his wife Abigail, “I drink no Cyder [sic], but feast upon Phyladelphia [sic] Beer, and Porter.”
6. Thomas Jefferson, our nation’s third president, served beer during dinner at Monticello– his Virginia estate. Jefferson’s earliest designs for his plantation included spaces for brewing and the storage of beer. Today, there are 238 permitted breweries in Virginia, and Virginia’s beer industry contributes more than $9.35 billion annually to the state’s economy.
7. During the Revolutionary War, beer was a part of soldiers’ daily lives. On June 10, 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Council set the daily ration for its troops in Boston to include one quart of good spruce or malt beer.
8. In 1862 President Lincoln signed legislation to tax beer to help finance the government during the Civil War. That same year 37 civic-minded New York breweries formed the United States Brewers Association for “ensuring safe and prompt collection” of the federal excise tax on beer. In 1986 the organization became the Beer Institute to represent brewers, beer importers and industry suppliers before Congress, state legislatures and public forums across the country.
9. According to WalletHub, Americans spent $1 billion on beer over the Fourth of July Weekend in 2015, making it is the most popular holiday for beer sales.
10. Last year AAA projected nearly 43 million Americans traveled during the Independence Day Holiday. We all want our roads and highways to be safe over the Fourth of July and every day this year. The Beer Institute and our member companies urge everyone to always drink responsibly.