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11 of the World’s Oldest Breweries

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Humanity has been enjoying beer for a really long time, as these still-running establishments can attest.

1. Stepan Razin Brewery

Founded In: 1795
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia

No extant Russian brewery can claim seniority over this one. For those interested in learning more, its official museum has been entertaining and educating tourists since 1995.

2. St. James’ Gate Brewery

Founded In: 1759
Location: Dublin, Ireland

The home of Guinness (of which 13 million pints are consumed every St. Patrick’s Day), this brewery had fallen into disuse when Arthur Guinness acquired it by signing a “9000-year lease.” To commemorate that historic event, the company celebrated five annual “Arthur’s Days” from 2009 to 2013, which saw participants drinking in his honor at 17:59 (5:59 PM).  

3. Smithwick’s Brewery

Founded In: 1710
Location: Kilkenny, Ireland

Billed as “Superior Irish Ale,” Smithwick’s has been brewed for over 300 years. For comparison’s sake, America’s best-selling beer brand— Budweiser—has only been in production since 1876. Advantage: Ireland. 

4. Grolsch Brewery

Founded In: 1615
Location: Groenlo, Netherlands

Famed for generating what’s arguably the Netherlands’ most iconic lager, Grolsch is also that picturesque nation’s third-largest brewer.  

5. Stiegl Brewery

Founded In: 1492
Location: Salzburg, Austria

Fun fact: When he wasn’t composing or writing about his tuckus, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart used to love chilling out with a pint of Stiegl.

6. Hubertus Brewery

Founded In: 1454
Location: Near Laa an der Thaya, Austria

There’s a pretty cool story behind the Hubertus Brewery logo. Adorning their bottle labels is the “stag of St. Hubertus,” which references a dream this medieval bishop’s said to have had. One night—the story goes—Hubertus envisioned a crucifix nestled above the head of a buck. Taking this as a heavenly sign, he proceeded to live out his remaining days with saintly vigor. 

7. Augustiner-Bräu

Founded In: 1328
Location: Munich, Germany

Get used to seeing a lot of Deutschland (and religious communities) on this list. Created by an Augustinian monastery, the monks who originally ran Augustiner-Bräu consumed a portion of their beer while selling the rest—tax-free—for profit. 

8. Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker & Co.

Founded In: 1302
Location: Cologne, Germany

There are reports of a brewery on 41 Eigelstein Street in Cologne from 1302. And though there have been a few wars and brewing stoppages, Gaffel is now among the 10 largest beer keg manufacturers in Germany.  

9. Bolten Brewery

Founded In: 1266
Location: Korschenbroich, Germany

The good people at Bolten operate the oldest Altbier (a style of traditional German ale) brewery in the world. 

10. Weltenburg Abbey Brewery

Roger, Flickr

Founded In: 1050
Location: Kelheim, Germany

Four hundred and thirty-three years separates the founding of this monastery (617) from the founding of the brewery (1050) (433 years is longer ago than the Spanish Armada!). Nearly another millennium later, Weltenburg Abbey’s beloved beers are still going strong. 

11. Weihenstephan Brewery

Founded In: 1040
Location: Bavaria, Germany

The world’s oldest continuously-operating brewery was born within Weihenstephan Abbey before being secularized in 1803 (today, it’s owned by the state of Bavaria). On a related note, you’re never too old to embrace social media: check out Weihenstephan’s official twitter page. 

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84 Years Ago Today: Goodbye Prohibition!
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
Keystone/Getty Images

It was 84 years ago today that the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, repealing the earlier Amendment that declared the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol illegal in the United States. Prohibition was over! Booze that had been illegal for 13 years was suddenly legal again, and our long national nightmare was finally over.

A giant barrel of beer, part of a demonstration against prohibition in America.
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Prohibition of alcohol was not a popular doctrine. It turned formerly law-abiding citizens into criminals. It overwhelmed police with enforcement duties and gave rise to organized crime. In cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis, the dismantling of breweries left thousands of people unemployed.

Photograph courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Homemade alcohol was often dangerous and some people died from drinking it. Some turned to Sterno or industrial alcohol, which was dangerous and sometimes poisoned by the government to discourage drinking. State and federal governments were spending a lot of money on enforcement, while missing out on taxes from alcohol.

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach (right) watches agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of Prohibition.

The midterm elections of 1930 saw the majority in Congress switch from Republican to Democratic, signaling a shift in public opinion about Prohibition as well as concerns about the depressed economy. Franklin Roosevelt, who urged repeal, was elected president in 1932. The Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution was proposed by Congress in February of 1933, the sole purpose of which was to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment establishing Prohibition.

American men guarding their private beer brewing hide-out, during Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

With passage of the Constitutional Amendment to repeal Prohibition a foregone conclusion, a huge number of businessmen lined up at the Board of Health offices in New York in April of 1933 to apply for liquor licenses to be issued as soon as the repeal was ratified.

The Amendment was ratified by the states by the mechanism of special state ratifying conventions instead of state legislatures. Many states ratified the repeal as soon as conventions could be organized. The ratifications by the required two-thirds of the states was achieved on December 5, 1933, when conventions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah agreed to repeal Prohibition through the Amendment.

Workmen unloading crates of beer stacked at a New York brewery shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

A brewery warehouse in New York stacked crates past the ceiling to satisfy a thirsty nation after the repeal of Prohibition.

Keystone/Getty Images

Liquor wouldn't officially be legal until December 15th, but Americans celebrated openly anyway, and in most places, law enforcement officials let them.

Courtesy New District
Say ‘Cheers’ to the Holidays With This 24-Bottle Wine Advent Calendar
Courtesy New District
Courtesy New District

This year, eschew your one-tiny-chocolate-a-day Advent calendar and count down to Christmas the boozy way. An article on the Georgia Straight tipped us off to New District’s annual wine Advent calendars, featuring 24 full-size bottles.

Each bottle of red, white, or sparkling wine is hand-picked by the company’s wine director, with selections from nine different countries. Should you be super picky, you can even order yourself a custom calendar, though that will likely add to the already-high price point. The basic 24-bottle order costs $999 (in Canadian dollars), and if you want to upgrade from cardboard boxes to pine, that will run you $100 more.

If you can’t quite handle 24 bottles (or $999), the company is introducing a 12-bottle version this year, too. For $500, you get 12 reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines from various unnamed “elite wine regions.”

With both products, each bottle is numbered, so you know exactly what you should be drinking every day if you really want to be a stickler for the Advent schedule. Whether you opt for 12 or 24 bottles, the price works out to about $42 per bottle, which is somewhere in between the “I buy all my wines based on what’s on sale at Trader Joe’s” level and “I am a master sommelier” status.

If you want to drink yourself through the holiday season, act now. To make sure you receive your shipment before December 1, you’ll need to order by November 20. Get it here.

[h/t the Georgia Straight]


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