The Miraculous, Magical, Magnificent History Of Beer [Infographic]

Aside from pairing perfectly with pizza, beer has done a lot of other good throughout history.

Beer is in a renaissance. Fueled by small craft manufacturers, brewers are reassessing the confines of classic stouts and IPAs. And with virtually no limitations on what can be added to beer (unlike most wines, which are confined strictly to the artful manipulation of grapes), the sheer variety of what’s on the market is astounding. Beer has become a cuisine unto itself.

But while every modern beer drinker may be a bit of an expert, this entertaining infographic reminds us that we’re all amateurs in comparison to our forefathers. We drink about 22 gallons apiece each year. Our medieval Europeans drank triple that (66 gallons). And the Egyptians who built the pyramids? They guzzled a gallon of beer every single day, or over 300 gallons each year. That’s more than 1,000 40s, but they certainly earned it.

Yet all arguments of beer’s importance historically aside—ignoring its sterility in dirty environments, its ability to preserve grain, and its insights into the world of microbes and modern medicine—the most incredible thing about beer isn’t all the things it’s done. The most incredible thing about beer is that we’d still drink it even if it weren’t incredible at all.

[Source; Image: RetroClipArt/Shutterstock]

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  • Bis9170

    Kids were baptized in beer? In an Islamic country such as Egypt? Hmm, color me doubtful. //TB

  • Ruhkat2

    There is a theory that agricultural practices actually began because people discovered what happened when they fermented grains: Beer/alchohol, and wanted to make more of it.    

    One thing though, there was already a smallpox vaccine by 1796.

  • Al

    Whenever I see a graphic like this that is all about one side of the story, I'm like, okay, who's behind this... who paid for this... who gains from this... An association of microbrewers? A brewery lobbying group?

    No, it's some dodgy online degree company. Huh.

    I don't understand the business model. Is the idea that bored US college kids circulate these things and 1% of them think "Hey I can get a degree online! Screw college!"? Is that really a business model that works? 

    Or is it really just about inbound links for SEO?

  • Simplyweber

    I'm sure the alcohol helped, but I'm pretty sure the boiling process of beer making is largely responsible for killing the bacteria.

  • Cannon257

    The boiling process is entirely responsible for killing the bacteria.
    this article is just wrong on that count

  • Ricardo Saavedra

    Nice point of view this one presented by this beautiful infographic. What I missed it was the bad point of view, like deaths, decease and other bad aspects.

  • Thedwaine

    Kinda like guns don't kill people, people kill people.
    Well, beer doesn't kill people, people kill people.

  • Geokoz

    Every civilization on Earth has brewed beer. I would venture to say that the cavman brewed beer.
    George A. Kozlowski

  • MI Beer Lover

    Great Graphic! However, the number of microbreweries seems low (Michigan alone has 60+ microbreweries.)

    Checking the source listed (http://www.brewersassociation....

    US Breweries operating for some or all of 2010




    Regional Craft Breweries

    Total US Craft Breweries

    Large Non-Craft Breweries

    Other Breweries

    Total US Breweries
    Checking the 2009 data "The Association of Brewers reports that as of July 31, 2009 there were a
    total 1,482 craft breweries (962 Brewpubs, 456 Microbreweries, and 64
    Regional Craft Breweries) in the United States"-- (

  • Sharada Prasad Mohanty

    Nice collection.
    Pouring beer into a glass is an art. Because some people prefers a high foamy collar while some prefers a short. Again it is difficult to serve the beer in picnics, barbecues and large informal parties.

  • Nicholas Bray

    Is there a way to purchase this as a print or a high res file to get printed? It would look sweet in my basement bar!