The Original BrewersAn homage to the original caretakers of beer—women.
There’s a little bit of a misconception out there, among a select (ignorant) few, that beer is a ‘man’s drink’ and women prefer cocktails or some such ridiculous thing.
While cocktails are great, we thought we’d set the record straight with a little history lesson, and what better day than today, when we’re learning all kinds of glorious things about women.
Consider this our homage to female kind, the original brewers.
Yeah. That’s right. Women were the original brewers. Because, of course they were.
Yeah. That’s right. Women were the original brewers.
We already know that beer has been around for thousands of years, making ancient lives better by enabling some badass palaeolithic partying. (Ok, not that ancient but you get the drift.)
It dates back to the days of Ancient Mesopotamia.
The discovery of fermentation is widely credited to Sumerians, who wrote down beer recipes on tablets (sacred text if there ever was) and then turned it into a hymn for their female deity of beer, Ninkasi.
And she was only one of a trio of goddesses who were credited with the divine protection of beer. The other two were Siris, also a beer goddess (best kind) and Siduri, a divine alewife, (best wife) from the epic of Gilgamesh.
The Egyptian deity of beer was also a female—Tenenit. And the Zulu beer goddess was Mbaba Mwana Waresa.
Yeah, that’s right—Female Beer Goddesses. One of the many indicators of the wisdom of the ancient civilisations.
In the ancient South American civilisations, like the Incas, only the noblewomen oversaw this magical process. Excavations of brewery sites point towards their key involvement in the process.
The Egyptian deity of beer was also a female
And the native brew was known as Chicha.
(We think that’s where the original ‘chickas’ as a term for women comes from, which evolved to chicks, but we might be very wrong so don’t take our word for it.)
When people around the world started discovering the joy of this gorgeous brew, the job of brewing automatically fell to the women. And if you were brewing beer, you were considered the most elite in society, the prima donna, if you will.
This trend continued well into the 1600s, with women dominating the European brewing situation. But, when the Black Death happened to England, along with the Hundred Year War, about a century later, things changed.
Women’s roles switched to care givers, and because of the unprecedented demand for beer due to militarisation, the process had no choice but to become industrial.
And unfortunately, the laws back in the day didn’t allow women to own and establish their own breweries. So they couldn’t keep up with the demand and the task ended up being passed on to men. Myeh.
…due to militarisation, the process had no choice but to become industrial.
Although, in many traditional Amazonian cultures, brewing is still very much a woman’s responsibility, even to this day.
And today, the number of women brewers and consumers is definitely on the rise. So, take heart. And one beer also.
And the next time you take a sip of a refreshingly cold tall one on a particularly hot day, give thanks and say cheers to the memory of the many ancient awesome women (and goddesses) responsible for its existence.
(Or just stand up, raise your fist and scream “Gurrrllll Powerrrrr”, and chug that beer down. Oh yeah!)