Whether it is a tourist trap in Boston, a tacky souvenir store in Chicago, or a street-side vendor in San Francisco, the quote “Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy” is attributed to Benjamin Franklin. However, these shirts and signs are incorrect when they cite Franklin as the author.
Franklin wrote in a letter to a French economist Abbe Morellet, who was a contributor to Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, or the Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts. In the letter, Franklin conveys his love of not beer, but wine.
“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!”
Franklin enjoyed wine more than beer and even had a negative view towards the consumption of beer, especially when printers who have a mug or two at work. Rather, he extolled the virtues of wine and referenced the Biblical story of the wedding at Canna, where Jesus turned water into wine. The altering of the quote, however, is really meaningless in the grand scope of history. The confusion will not lead people to question the rule of law in their society or incite calls to destroy established institutions. It is a comical footnote, if that, that focuses on one of Americans favorite things, beer and one of its most famous founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin.