Beer is one of the oldest beverages on the planet that humans have produced, dating back to at least the 5th millennium BC with both the civilizations of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It is likely that beer-like beverages were developed at similar times by different cultures all around the world, so likely there is not one single source of the invention of beer, but there is documentation that the ancient Egyptians did perfect fermentation recipes in their culture.
In fact, the earliest chemically confirmed barley beer – another innovation in the industry – was discovered in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and said to be made in roughly 3000 BC. Most beers of this time period and in these regions were likely produced on a domestic scale, and not for mass production or commercial sale.
Beginning in roughly the 7th Century AD, though, that all changed. European monasteries began producing and selling beer to people throughout Western Europe, as the technology and scale for producing beer became much easier to do on a large and fast level.
During the Industrial Revolution, beer continued to be sold and the industry as a viable business model really began to grow in scale. The production of beer during the Industrial Revolution moved from the domestic realm or personal workstation, to the industrial manufacturing sector. By the end of the 19th century, domestic manufacturing of beer had almost completely ceased to be a significant source of beer produced, and factories and companies in Western Europe and elsewhere produced most all beers commercially and for great profit at the time.
It was during this time, too, that more technological changes accompanied the production of beer. Technical tools like the development of hydrometers and thermometers changed brewing beer, giving the brewers much more control over the process itself. This also changed the ability to brew different flavors, styles, and textures of beer, giving consumers a wide array of choices that in the past had been non-existent.
Today, the brewing industry is a global business, and although several major multinational companies and corporations dominate it, the market for smaller producers like regional breweries is growing. Home brewing is a hot trend in brewing today, and more and more people are buying locally produced beer, ale, and other alcohol.
Billions of dollars of beer is sold every single year around the world, and it has quickly and permanently become one of the most popular drinks in human history. And to think, it started with small home brewing sects and families in Ancient Egypt more than 10,000 years ago!
Category: Beer & Wine