It is commonly mistaken that Franklin once said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” However, Franklin apparently did not like beer very much and was much more of a wine lover. The quote originally came from a letter that Franklin wrote to his friend André Morellet while he was in France. He stated,
“Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!”
Although Franklin does love wine, here, he may be referring to the greatness of God and the wonders of the rain and the vineyards, rather than the greatness of wine. However, either way, the quote never had anything to do with beer.
It is still unknown who started this rumor, or when his words got twisted since it it so hard to trace the roots to a rumor that started so long ago. However, according to beer.about.com/od/historyofbeer, the rumor may have spread so broadly because so many people commonly use the quote, and after hearing it so often, it is automatically is believed to be true. Also, since Franklin is known to have a satirical side to him, it would not be preposterous to believe that he may have said such a thing. However, today the false quote is still printed on-shirts all around the world.