Thursday, 7 April 2016

National Beer Daze

I was rather surprised to see a blogger tweet that it's National Beer Day today (7 April). I thought it was later in the year, so I googled it, and I was right: National Beer Day in the UK is on 15 June.

However, it turns out that today is the American beer day because on April 7, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt took the first step toward ending Prohibition and signed a law that allowed people to brew and sell beer in the United States, as long as it remained below 4.0%.

Britain's beer day is on 15 June because on that date in 1215, the Magna Carta was sealed. Article 35 states: Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn, namely the London quarter. That reads to me as an early example of weights and measures legislation.

Digging a bit further, I found that the Icelandic National Beer Day is on 1 March, marking the end of a 74 year prohibition on beer that began in 1915 and ended on 1 March 1989. Curiously, the ban on wine was lifted in 1921, and that on spirits in 1935. It was felt that beer, being weaker and cheaper, would lead to widespread depravity; this measure was therefore an early example of beer price rationing inspired by moral panic. I'm almost impressed by the prescience of the Icelandic killjoys!

These beer days are mainly for fun, I suppose, plus a bit of publicity for those making and selling beer, but last year the UK beer day completely passed me by. I'll try to do better this year.


  1. This isn't America? Who knew?

  2. I think Iceland was forced to lift the ban on wine because Spain told them that, if they didn't, they would stop buying their fish.

  3. I thought every day was beer day for you:)

  4. TM: you do - now!

    CM: funny how principle can pragmatically be sacrificed to commerce when it suits, isn't it?

    Tyson: I actually laughed out loud at that - not something I do very often.


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