National Beer Day is an unofficial holiday in the United States celebrated every year on April 7th. As if you needed another excuse to enjoy America’s favorite adult beverage, here are five reasons to get in the holiday spirit:
National Beer Day marks the end of beer’s darkest days in America. On March 23rd, 1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, effectively ending prohibition. On April 7th, 1933 at exactly 12:01 a.m., Americans could legally buy, sell, and consume beer for the first time in 13 years.
Let’s pause and think about the gravity of that situation.
Without beer pizza would be just as delicious, though never quite able to reach it’s full potential; attendance at baseball games would plummet, as fans, without beer to distract them, quickly realize the full extent of their complete and total boredom; and thousands of bearded Portland hipsters would suddenly be without livelihoods.
That was America’s reality for over a decade. It’s no wonder Franklin D. Roosevelt ushered in the end of prohibition with this thirst-quenching line: “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” Subtle, Mr. President.
It’s your right as an American to drink beer. What better day to exercise that right than on National Beer Day?
Americans’ love for beer is a powerful political force. Remember those bearded hipsters of Portlandia who, in a tragic twist of political fate, might never have realized their true calling had prohibition not been repealed? They’ve got Franklin Delano Roosevelt to thank.
In 1932, FDR ran for president on a platform that emphasized the repeal of prohibition. For a country suffering through the Great Depression, the prospect of jobs and tax revenue from alcohol production — not to mention a much needed liquid distraction — made Roosevelt the popular candidate and he easily defeated incumbent President Herbert Hoover.
America once again faces prohibition. Some citizens are demanding the rescheduling — if not full legalization — of marijuana. Surely there are lessons to be learned from the failures of the 18th Amendment. Whether it’s the reduction of organized crime or the increase in jobs and tax revenue, the war on marijuana is a mirror image to prohibition.
Learn More: Fact or Fiction: Marijuana
Seriously, beer’s influence is powerful enough to install a political dynasty of beer-drinking goats. It’s understandable if you need a minute to re-read that last sentence. Back in the 1980’s the fine folks of Lajitas, Texas, a booming resort town of about 10,000 residents, elected Clay Henry mayor. This might have been an uneventful election save for one crucial detail: Clay Henry was an actual goat, famous for drinking beer.
Mayor Clay Henry’s executive duties included guzzling beers for eager tourists, throwing a few cold ones back with country music stars like Willie Nelson and, you guessed it, downing the golden goodness in movies.
Everyone can appreciate a politician who makes drinking beer a civic duty.
When the honorable Mayor Henry met his demise at the horns of a younger, rival goat, the citizens of Lajitas immortalized him. You can still visit Clay Henry today as he lives on for the ages, stuffed and with a beer bottle permanently glued in his mouth. Henry’s legacy endured through Clay Henry II, who was elected mayor of Lajitas in 1998, and his immediate successor, Clay Henry III.
Beer gave birth to modern society. In the pursuit of beer, ancient humans learned how to farm and developed mathematics and written language. Your ancestors invented agriculture in 9000 BCE, not only so they could have bread to eat, but beer to drink. #Priorities.
Beer was a necessity in Mesopotamian societies because it offered a healthy and nutritious alternative to — get this — water, which could be contaminated with disease. To produce more of this vitamin-rich nectar from the gods, ancient man developed the plow, the wheel, and irrigation systems; these tools gave rise to the agrarian society and marked the end of the hunter-gatherer era in human history.
Mathematics also developed out of man’s need to brew beer. Then came written language, an innovation developed in part to document the brewing process. In fact, a Sumerian beer recipe from the 5th century BCE is the oldest recipe on earth.
The story of beer in America is the story of America itself. There’s still such a thing called “the American Dream” and it can be found in the craft brewery. In the past several years, microbreweries have gone from inconsequential hobbyists to slurping up 10% of a market worth $100 billion a year.
Rising from a prohibition-era ban on homebrewing, craft beer makers embraced newfound political, economical, and cultural freedoms to produce high-quality products. Make no mistake about, “The Craft Beer Revolution” is disrupting the business model of corporate brewers like Anheuser-Bush and MillerCoors.
The craft beer movement embodies the quintessential “David-versus-Goliath” story of American entrepreneurship. Using hops instead of a slingshot, these “Davids” of the beer world spurred incredible innovations in both the styles and production of beer, despite limited resources.
Prove your craft beer knowledge isn’t as stale as a 5000 year old IPA:
So on this National Beer Day pour yourself a cold one and celebrate your entrepreneurial spirit. Raise that glass high and toast to your American history and, while you’re at it, the history of mankind. Honor your freedom to drink whatever you choose to pour in your class — even if that’s tasteless, watered-down, mass-produced beer.
Written by Brandon Chiat — Editorial Director