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The History Of Beer Essay

4087 words - 16 pages

The History of Beer Beer has been a prominent figure in the country's history ever since the first colonists began arriving in America. Beer made exploration possible and could be found on any vessel undertaking voyages of any significant length, as beer was of greater resistance to the effects of spoilage than that of water. Also, sailors depended on beer to fight scurvy, which was especially prevalent on ships were no fresh fruits or vegetables were available. (Baron p. 8). This initial sustenance that beer could provide in the early settling of the New World would be just the first role beer played in the shaping of America, as it would later become a consensus builder and backdrop for revolutionary activity in the colonies, much of it learned from the mother country. From the initial beginnings, as the Pilgrims were aboard the Mayflower, and then landed at Plymouth Rock, they were not at the planned destination point, which still lay further to the south (Finch p. 17). Because the crew on board was running low on the necessary supplies, mostly beer, they decided to unload the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Hence one of the initial colonization points for the colonists was determined because of beer, or more accurately a lack of it. "We could not now take time for further search or consideration, our victuals being much spent, especially our Beer." (Mourt's Relation p. 64). It was in those first years that beer was especially crucial because of the dangers associated with impure water. Disease like cholera and typhoid were especially rampant and transmitted through tainted water supplies (Hardyment p. 104).Sanitary drinking water conditions were as of this time, still not fully understood, but the common populace did know that beer prevented this from happening. Because of the necessity of beer for the survival of the initial colonists, it was made a focal point of many of the town meetings and legislatures in the colonies during the seventeenth century. From the beginning, the London Company's records indicate that supplies of beer were prominently considered. Beer was among the first provisions that were supplied in 1607 as part of the first supply (Baron p. 4). Unfortunately for the colonists though, a large quantity of the beer was taken by the sailors who were transporting the valued beer. The beer never reached the settlers, resulting in a more troublesome winter than thought initially. Two years later the Governor and Council of Virginia were advertising for two brewers to be sent to the colony (Bruce p. 3). Letters were continually sent to England to show the continuing dissatisfaction with the condition of imported beer. In 1624, Governor Sir Francis Wyatt was writing to England complaining of the sickness in the colony because of "want of beer..." (Wyatt). In 1637, the legislature of the Massachusetts Bay Colony met to fix...

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