History of Beer in the 16th Century: Timeline

The history of beer in the 16th century was one of very high consumption by today’s standards. It was also a period of increased regulation. The goal of such regulations was to ensure purity of beer, income of workers, fire safety, and high tax revenues. It wasn’t to reduce consumption.

                            This Page is Part of a Series of Timelines

History of Beer Before Christianity.

History of Beer in Early Christianity & Beyond.

Beer History in the 15th Century.

History of Beer in the 16th Century.

History of Beer in the 17th Century.

Beer History in the 18th Century.

History of Beer in the 19th Century.

History of Beer in the 20th Century & Beyond.

Beer in the 16th Century

16th Century

  • In Coventry, the average amount of beer and ale consumed was about 17 pints per person per week. That compares to about three pints today in England.
  • Soldiers received two-thirds of a gallon of beer each day.
  • Polish peasants drank up to three liters of beer per day.
  • Swedish beer consumption may have been 40 times higher than today in Sweden.
  • In Denmark, the usual consumption of beer was a gallon per day for adult laborers and sailors.

1516

beer in the 17th century
Hops

The Beer Purity law (Reinheitsgeobot) was established in Bavaria. It had been pushed by the Bavarian brewing guilds. Only barley, hops and pure water could be used in brewing.

1520s

Hops were first grown in England on a large scale.

1522

Denmark established minimum requirements for commercial breweries to increase their size. This was to simplify tax collection. It also reduced the danger of fires.

1531

In England it was illegal for brewers to make their own barrels. This was to protect the livlihood of coopers.

1536

Brandenberg prohibited illicit brewing to protect the municipal government. It relied on beer revenues.

1540

Brandenberg prohibited both brewing and serving alcohol on Sundays and high holy days.

1561

Beer was first sold in glass bottles in Germany.

1580s

With the spread of Puritanism, attacks on intoxication and ale-houses increased.

1590s

Each sailor in the English navy had a daily ration of a gallon of beer.

Late 1500s

Queen Elizabeth I of England drank strong ale for breakfast.

1584      

Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible replaced the sale of beer with vodka at state-run taverns.

1587

The first beer brewed in the New World was at Sir Walter Raleigh’s colony in Virginia. But the colonists didn’t receive it well. They wanted beer from England.

1591

The last recording burning of a “brew witch.” Brew witches (or beer witches) were men and women who were blamed for problems in brewing. Such executions were a distressing feature of beer in the 16th century

 

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Beer in the 16th Century

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