Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Drinking Habits of Our Founding Fathers

As we all know, beer was safer to drink during colonial times than water was.  And it was a major dietary staple from the cradle to the grave.  Infants were fed it, and it was recommended to breast feeding mothers.  In the formative colonial years, beer was brewed at home and most households built a brewroom on the side of their house.  Hops grew wild in the forests around the towns, which was a huge plus for these homebrewers.  As currency was established in the colonies and trade was possible with England, taverns began to pop up.  Taverns were not just a place to get a drink, but to socialize and hold meetings.  The tavern actually became one of the most important meeting places a town could have.  And, many of the constitutional ideas were formed in taverns. (As we know, Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.  But did you know that he wrote it while drinking Madeira at his usual table in the Indian Queen Tavern in Philadelphia?)

But how do we really know that the founding fathers as a group drank a lot?  Well, believe it or not, there are records of their shenanigans.  In 1787, two days before they signed the Constitution, the 55 delegates to the convention went to a local tavern. According to the bill, they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 whiskeys, 22 porters, eight hard ciders, 12 bottles of beer and 7 bowls of alcoholic punch.  They did have a reason to celebrate!!  And keep in mind, that may seem like a lot, but the average American at the time drank many more the times as Americans of today do. Getting drunk, but not losing control, was much more acceptable than it is today.

So there you have it!  As we celebrate our nation, don't forget to drink a beer ...  it's a tradition!

(Handbrewed Soaps is NOT endorsing getting drunk, just to celebrate... responsibly!)



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