One Beer Article You Need To Read And Why, 1/31/17

This does sound like a fun job.  You get to travel around the country and talk about and study the history of beer.  That history is important for two reasons.  One, it is interesting to see what brewers did in the past to make and market their beers.  Two, only through knowing and understanding the past can you confront the future.

I have read books on the history of brewing in Asheville, in Charlotte, and in North Carolina.  I took a lot of history classes in college.  I love studying history and all the minutia it contains.  The little random factoids that lead up to the major moments everyone knows about.  These are what I call horseshoe nails.  Richard III lost the kingdom and changed British and world history because his horse threw a shoe.  It is more complicated than that, but not really.  Seeing the decisions brewers made and how they had long term effects on the history of beer in this country is fascinating.

History is also our best guide as to what will happen in the future.  Humans have not changed that much throughout the course of history.  We still have the same basic wants and needs we had when we were hunter/gatherers and living in caves.  As things happen around you, understand they have happened before and they will probably happen again.  The difference between now and then is we have history to teach us how to react to these events.  If we study it.

What does history teach us? One, that American business has always been a dance between business people, consumers, and the government to find the way to produce, sell, and consume products that makes money for the business, satisfies the government’s need for taxes, and gets the consumer the product they want at a reasonable price.

It will also show how beer is an agricultural product that is still best enjoyed as a local product and that it has always been so.  Even with the technological advances in brewing and packaging, it is still better to get your beer as fresh as possible from the source.

Hopefully, we will also learn that brewers have not always been (and still aren’t) all white dudes with beards.  Throughout its early history, brewing was considered housework for women and slaves.  It was only at the point that brewing became a viable business did white men take over.  Pointing out history honestly isn’t attacking anyone.  It is the root of historical scholarship.

Studying history is often like following the ripples of a stone thrown in a pond.  Sometimes those ripples run into a larger rock or a wave and are extinguished quickly.  Sometimes those ripples move along the surface of the water and run into something that sends them back towards their source bigger and stronger.  Sometimes those ripples travel the length of the water affecting the surface longer than anyone could expect.

By studying the history of beer in this country we can watch the ripples from things that have nothing to do with beer and get a better understanding of how these things affect all parts of our lives.