Benjamin Franklin – Beer, God, and America

Benjamin Franklin has been accredited for famous quotes involving freedom, liberty, and innovation, but one of his more known quotes regards none of the latter, but instead the alcoholic beverage we all love or hate – beer.  Breweries and street vendors in Massachusetts and across the United States have no problem selling you a shirt or sign with the quote, “Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy”, while claiming that one of the greatest Americans to live, Benjamin Franklin, was its origin.  Unfortunately for those who may have purchased one of these items, the quote may not actually come from Franklin.

According to numerous sources, including Anchors Brewing, a San Francisco based brewing company, there is no historical evidence that Ben Franklin is the source of the quote.  The only evidence of this quote comes from Wikipedia, brewing companies selling merchandise, and street vendors that scatter the streets of Boston – Franklin’s birthplace.  Anchors Brewing writes, “Although he enjoyed beer—especially small beer, perfect for long sessions devoted to discussions of political philosophy, economic theory, science, and the arts—Ben Franklin was first and foremost a great lover of wine.”  There is significant historical records that show Franklins love of wine, and possibly how a quote pertaining to wine may have adapted into the quote about beer.  Franklin wrote in a letter to a friend, “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!”  It is easy to see how, maybe after a few drinks, the final part of Franklin’s quote about wine could be manipulated to talk about beer.

Through this evidence it is safe to say that Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote about beer is not actually Franklin’s quote.  Instead, this quote is either a product of someone trying to make money selling t-shirts and bar signs, or a simple mistake based on other quotes from Franklin.  With this myth disproved, people will hopefully stop spreading false history, while also saving a few dollars at the brewery.

 

Sources:

https://www.anchorbrewing.com/blog/say-what-says-who-benjamin-franklin-on-beer-or-not/

http://beer.about.com/od/historyofbeer/f/Did-Benjamin-Franklin-Really-Say-Beer-Is-Proof-That-God-Loves-Us-And-Wants-Us-To-Be-Happy.htm

 

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