Over the many years of our country’s history, our various distinguished presidents have each had their own unique relationship with one of our country’s favorite beverages: beer. Some received such pleasure from the drink that they chose to create their own recipes and brew it themselves while others might have loved it too much. On the other hand, some presidents chose not to drink at all, like Abe Lincoln and most recently Donald Trump. But before we get to comparing and contrasting those two presidents, let’s have a toast to the men who helped influence the landscape of beer this President’s Day and have a quick lesson in history and beer.
President Washington was elected as our first president in 1789 after defeating John Adams (who happens to be the 2nd cousin of Samuel Adams). Washington was a military man and politician known to love the occasional drink. Records indicate he preferred English-style porters. As a home brewer, Washington was known to keep large quantities of beer at his Mt. Vernon estate. A home recipe for beer dated from 1754 for 30 gallons of beer was found in his personal notebook.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected the 32nd president in 1933 during the height of the Great Depression. Sensing a change in the general consensus of the U.S. people, Roosevelt felt it was time to lift the ban on alcohol. As one of his first actions as President, FDR ended prohibition on March 22, 1933 by proposing the 21st amendment. By repealing the 18th amendment, FDR single handedly changed the course of the beer industry in the U.S.
Although President Carter was only a single-term president riddled with economic and foreign affairs while in office, he made a lasting mark on the beer industry. In 1978, President Carter signed a bill that launched the largest home brewing explosion since Prohibition. The law exempted home brewers who produced for personal and family consumption from excise taxes. A wave of home brewing swept the nation showing Americans how good homebrews can be. And who knows, maybe giving rise to the craft brewing industry.