Brewers association

Smithsonian set to showcase brewery history

New display part of “FOOD: Transforming the American Table”

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will explore the history and industry of brewing in the United States in a new showcase located in the “FOOD: Transforming the American Table” exhibit beginning October 25.

“FOOD: Transforming the American Table” is an existing permanent exhibit that explores the history of food and eating in the United States since 1950. The exhibit’s fall update will highlight new stories about changes in food itself and how Americans produce, prepare, and consume. Food and drink. One of the four major new sections is “Brewing a Revolution.

The history of brewing in the United States is a story of immigration, urban change, technological innovation and changing consumer tastes. During the nation’s early years, Americans drank beer, mostly brewed by women and slaves, at home. The arrival of professional European brewers – almost all of them men – in the 1800s created a nation of lager enthusiasts. While Prohibition in 1920 banned the production of intoxicating beverages, America’s beer story was far from over.

Visitors will see artifacts, archival documents and photographs from California and Colorado’s brewing and microbrewing movements of the 1960s through 1980s – the beginning of the craft beer “revolution”.

The ‘Brewing a Revolution’ display cases are the work of curator Theresa McCulla, who has led the museum’s American Brewing History Initiative since 2017. She has mined existing collections and traveled the country to research, collect, preserve and share this history in order to develop the collections with a focus on the mixing of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Brewers from San Francisco’s historic Anchor Brewing Company wear these white coveralls when brewing. Former owner Fritz Maytag donated his set of suits to the American History Museum. Combinations, circa 2005, Division of Labor and Industry, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

“The artifacts featured in this new exhibit convey stories of innovation, creativity and risk, as well as a deep pride and delight in the processes of brewing and drinking beer in the United States,” said McCulla. “Beer is a common thread that runs through the fabric of our nation’s history and culture.”

Part of the Smithsonian Food History Project, the museum launched the American Brewing History Initiative in 2016 with funding from the Brewers Association, the Boulder, Colorado-based nonprofit trade association dedicated to small, independent American brewers. The Brewers Association recently funded an extension of the initiative through 2022.

“America’s craft brewing revolution has had a profound social, cultural and economic impact on this country,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association. “America is a nation of beer, and we are honored to support this effort and to work with the National Museum of American History to chronicle and highlight the significant accomplishments that small independent brewers and home brewers have made throughout the history of our country.”

Charlie Papazian used basic equipment like this wooden spoon to brew at home. Spoon, 1974, Division of Labor and Industry, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

A wooden home brewing spoon that belonged to Charlie Papazian, former president of the Brewers Association and founder of the Brewers Association, a microscope used by Fritz Maytag at Anchor Brewing Co. and the travel diary that inspired Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch at New Belgium Brewing Co. are among the artifacts on display. McCulla has also recorded oral histories with over 75 members of the brewing industry.

See More information on the initiative and the history of beer at the museum.

The Last Call: The History of After Hours Brewing

Alongside the opening of the exhibit and as part of the Smithsonian’s three-day Food History Weekend, Nov. 7-9, McCulla will host a conversation between several key figures in the history of craft beer to reflect on the past, present and future of beer during “The Last Call: Brewing History After-Hours event on Friday, November 8. Attendees include Maytag, former owner of Anchor Brewing Co.; Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Papazian, founder of the Brewers Association; and Michael Lewis, professor emeritus of food science and technology at the University of California, Davis.

The following breweries will be offering beer tastings: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Delaware, 60 Minute IPA and Slightly Mighty IPA; Anchor Brewing Co., San Francisco, Anchor Steam Beer and Anchor Porter; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA, and Mills River, NC, Pale Ale and Celebration Fresh Hop IPA; Raleigh Brewing Company, Raleigh, North Carolina, New Albion Ale and Hell Yes Ma’am Belgian Golden Ale; and New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colorado, and Asheville, North Carolina, Fat Tire Amber Ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA.

Tickets to The Last Call are $45 for beer tastings, appetizers, and a one-night display of artifacts from the brewery’s out-of-storage history, including recent acquisitions. To buy tickets and see Further information.

Leadership support for “FOOD: Transforming the American Table” is made possible by Warren and Barbara Winiarski (Winiarski Family Foundation), the Brewers Association, the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, the Land O’Lakes Foundation, the 2018 Food Supporters of History Gala and History Channel.

The National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. The museum helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. See More information on the museum. Discover the museum’s social networks on Twitter (@amhistorymuseum), Facebook (@National Museum of American History) and Instagram (@amhistorymuseum). #SmithsonianFood and #BeerHistory

The museum is located on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets NW, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed December 25). Free entry. For information about the Smithsonian, the public can call (202) 633-1000.

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