Ben Franklin and Beer
I was about to put up a throwaway post (gotta goose the traffic!) with that famous quote from Ben Franklin:
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."This quote is well-known to beery types, and can be seen on about 10% of the t-shirts at beer festivals in July. It seems to verify satisfyingly the things we know about Franklin and beer: Ben was a bit of a libertine, clearly irreverent, but a founding father whose love of beer seems to vouch for its wholesomeness and patriotic purity. Unfortunately, it's also a crock: Franklin never said it. Worse, it's a missappropriation of a quote from a Franklin letter in which he extols ... brace yourself ... wine.
Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.How French is that? (Franklin, of course, was a Francophile, one of the many reasons some red-blooded Americans hold him at some distance.) Turns out the fake quote was brewed up by the US brewing industry post-prohibition, when they were battling with liquor producers for sales.
As part of their marketing plan to groom a bigger beer-drinking audience, the United States Brewers Association began a decades-long advertising campaign that was quick to associate beer and beer drinking with our Founding Fathers, early American history and patriotism.Tinkering with the legacy of a founding father to make a buck? How American is that? It's not the gilded version of an Independence Day story ("I cannot tel a lie..."), but it's pretty American nevertheless.