Beer Science

Developments in beer production

Thr3e Wise Men Brewery VatsBreweries, as facilities dedicated to beer production, emerged when monasteries and other Christian institutions began producing beer to be used as currency.

Early breweries were designed with equipment on higher floors in order to utilize the aid of gravity to in transferring the product between brewing stages. Though this building layout is still somewhat common, mechanical pumps are now the norm.

Early breweries also used large copper vats and lined wooden containers were used during the fermentation process. Since the Industrial Revolution, stainless steel has been typically used for brewery equipment since it is less expensive and doesn’t corrode.

Alaskan Brewing is credited with installing the first carbon dioxide reclamation system in a United States brewery. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural byproduct of the brewing process. Since 1998, Alaskan has been capturing the gas and using it in beer packaging. This development is said to decrease the environmental impact and financial cost of their beer production.

Beer in America

Origin of the 6-pack

Six packs of beerThe modern-day “six pack of beer” was created after the repeal of prohibition when beer sales shifted from consumption establishments (breweries) to retail outlets (grocers).

In the late 1940s/early 1950s is when to-go packaging emerged. Less than 7% of the breweries that existed around 1949 offered take-home or carry-home as it was called then. Beer was primarily distributed in cases of 6 or 12 in wood crates up until this time.

Pabst Brewing is largely credited as the first brewer to package beer in six packs. Supposedly, the magic number 6 was a result of studies conducted to determine the ideal weight for the average housewife to carry home from the store. However, it has also been said that beer was first sold in packs of 6 because of size, not weight. A six pack of beer was the perfect size to fit in a standard paper grocery bag.

Whatever the original justification for selling beer in packs of 6, the phenomenon really took off in the mid-1950s and continues today.