Craft beer in general has always been mainstream to the masses. It is a beverage enjoyed in all walks of life. Doctors, educators, musicians, athletes and accountants, you name it, people of all walks enjoy beer. And as beer is to the common man, so is it to our presidents. Today we highlight six US presidents who in their own way have embraced the goodness of beer.

1. Our first president of the US, President George Washington (1789 – 1797) cherished a good beer. Or to be more accurate, a good craft beer. His favorite brew was dark English porters. That might be of surprise to some considering the hard fought fight for independence from England; Washington once commented to another patriot, “We have already been too long subject to British prejudices. I use no porter or cheese in my family, but such as is made in America; both these articles may now be purchased of an excellent quality.” George Washington likely was America’s first craft beer brewer President. Historical records suggest he brewed small beer at his Mount Vernon estate. A hand written recipe for small beer found in one of his personal notebook details states:

“Take a large sifter full of bran hops to your taste. Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 gallons into a cooler, put in 3 gallons molasses while the beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the cooler & strain the beer on it while boiling hot. Let this stand till it is little more than blood warm. Then put in a quart of yeast if the weather is very cold, cover it over with a blanket & let it work in the cooler 24 hours. Then put it into the cask. Leave the bung open till it is almost done working. Bottle it that day week (sic) it was brewed.”

2. Thomas Jefferson (1801 – 1809), third President of the US, enjoyed beer and became a bit of an advocate for beer. He petitioned the government to approve Englishman and beer brewer Joseph Miller’s citizenship. In his petition Jefferson defended his request, stating that “I wish to see this beverage become common instead of the whiskey which kills one third of our citizens and ruins their families.” Upon his retirement from the presidency, with the help of Joseph Miller, Thomas Jefferson built a brew house at Monticello and began brewing a light ale-like beer for his family and friends.

3. Fourth President of the US, James Madison (1809 – 1817), is known as the father of the constitution, advancing the concept of three separate branches of the government. Prior to becoming president, Madison proposed taxing imported alcoholic beverages and ingredients required to produce alcoholic beverages. Passing the act would protect domestic producers of alcoholic beverages and generate a steady revenue stream to help support the financial requirements of a young United States of America. Congress agreed and The Tariff Act of 1789 was approved.

4. In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933 – 1945) became the 32nd President of the United States, defeating Herbert Hoover in the height of the depression. Repealing the 18th Amendment – National Prohibition Act (of alcohol) was a key element of Roosevelt’s campaign. Failure to stop use of alcohol, temptation of normally law abiding citizens taking part in alcohol related criminal activities, failing restaurants and taverns, and loss of tax stamp revenues sorely needed to fund government were reasons for the repeal cited by Roosevelt, and resulted in a resounding win. On March 22, 1933 Roosevelt signed the Beer and Wine Act, which enabled the federal government to collect taxes on alcohol and states to regulate sale of alcohol. Upon signing the Act, Roosevelt suggested that ‘its a good time for a beer.’

5. The next presidential hand to sign a law favorably impacting regulation of alcohol was that of Jimmy Carter (1977 – 1981), 39th President of the United States. In 1978 President Carter signed congressional bill H.R 1337 — 95th Congress (1977-1978) containing an amendment which opened the door for home brewing of beer. Bill H.R. 1337 allows any adult (formerly only heads of families) to produce wine and beer for personal and family use and not for sale without incurring the wine or beer excise taxes or any penalties for quantities per calendar year of: (1) 200 gallons if there are two or more adults in the household and (2) 100 gallons if there is only one adult in the household. With a few strokes of a pen, Jimmy Carter opened the door for individuals to brew craft beer at home which in-turn ultimately gave birth to the craft beer brewing industry.

6. Forty-fourth President of the United States, Barack Obama (2009 – present) is the first president known to brew craft beer on the grounds of the White House. Members of Congress, foreign dignitaries and others have been beneficiaries of President Obama’s craft beer brewing hobby. Guests are either served White House Honey Brown Ale, White House Honey Porter, or White House Honey Blonde craft beer varieties. Reception to the beers has been high, which has driven request for their recipes. The White House has graciously posted two of President Obama’s craft beer recipes online for enthusiasts.

It is good to know that craft beer enthusiasts, brewers, and business advisors to the craft brewing industry, including Chortek LLP, find themselves in the same circle of US Presidents in regards to our appreciation of craft beer. It’s a great American tradition!

Traditions are part of Chortek LLP’s history too. Chortek LLP has been a trusted business advisory and accounting services provider for diverse businesses, including food and beverages for over 65 years. We can assist you in development of better accounting systems, internal process controls, and tax strategies for improved profitability, management of working capital, and long term stability.

We are a member of the Brewers Association, Wisconsin Brewers Guild and FaB Wisconsin. Please visit these organizations to find information, resources and opportunities related to the brewing, beverage and food industries of Wisconsin and beyond.

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