Beer in Antiquity, Antiquity in Beer?

A Few Remarks About the Reception of Ancient Culture in Modern Brewery




beer, brewery, reception, reconstruction, ancient culture, ancient beverages, mythology, Greeks, Romans


Modern breweries taking inspiration from ancient cultures appear as a quite interesting phenomenon, because beer is absent from the current imaginarium about the ancient Greeks and Romans. Yet it was not unknown to them, as demonstrated by the survey of sources in the first part of the text. Actually, some brewers today are aware of the beverage’s presence in ancient literature and use this knowledge in the naming of their products. Others decide on less direct references, to some historical or mythical characters. Some producers do not limit themselves to names of their brews, but also attempt to reconstruct the ancient drinks. In the second (main) part of the article several cases of each type are presented, together with an analysis of methods of the references’ presentation and explanation to the consumer. Also, some observations are made about the reasons why breweries decide to use ancient themes at all.

PlumX Metrics of this article


Adamski B., Rosińska-Bąk K., 2014, ‘Brewing Technology in Early Egypt. Invention of Upper or Lower Efyptians?’, Studies in African Archeology 13, pp. 23–36.

Civil M., 1989, ‘Modern Brewers Recreate Ancient Beer’, The Oriental Institute News & Notes 132, Chicago, pp. 1–4.

Cornell M., 2015, Strange Tales of Ale, Stroud.

Dryja S., Stanisławski S., 2018, Mała encyklopedia piwowarska Krakowa i Kazimierza w wieku XVI i pierwszej połowie wieku XVII. Studia z dziejów piwowarstwa Krakowa i Kazimierza z uwzględnieniem problematyki Kleparza i przedmieść, Kraków.

Gately I., 2001, Kulturowa historia alkoholu, transl. A. Kunicka, Warszawa 2011.

Gibbs M., 2019, ‘De Re Cervisia et Mulso, “on The Subject of Beer and Mulsum”’, EXARC Journal 2, pp. 1–17.

Grivetti L. E. 1997, ‘The Origins and Ancient History of Wine’, [in:] The Origins and Ancient History of Wine Food and Nutrition in History and Antropology, P. E. McGovern, S. J. Flemming, S. H. Katz (eds.), Amsterdam, pp. 6–20.

Helck W., 1971, Das Bier im Altem Ägypten, Berlin.

Hornsey I. S., 1997, A History of Beer and Brewing, Cambridge.

Ishida H., 2002, ‘Insight into Ancient Egyptian Beer Brewing Using Current Folkloristic Methods’, The Quarterly of Master Brewers American Association 39, pp. 81–88.

Jackson M., 2007, Beer, London.

Katz S., Maytag F., Civil M., 1991, ‘Brewing an Ancient Beer’, Archaeology 44, pp. 24–33.

Kokoszko M., Jagusiak K., Rzeźnicka Z., 2014, Cereals of Antiquity and Early Byzantine Times: Wheat and Barley in Medical Sources (Second to Seventh Centuries A.D.), Łódź. DOI:

Kolendo J., 2008, ‘Komentarz (commentary)’, [in:] Publiusz Korneliusz Tacyt, Germania, transl. T. Płóciennik, Poznań.

Lintner C. J., 1950, Technologia browarnictwa, transl. P. Wojcieszak, Warszawa 1950.

McGovern P. E., 2009, Uncorking the Past. The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages, Berkeley–Los Angeles–London. DOI:

Nelson M., 2005, The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe, London–New York.

Rasmussen S. C., 2018, The Quest for Aquae Vitae. The History and Chemistry of Alcohol from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, Heidelberg–New York–Dordrecht–London.

Sams G. K., 2005, ‘Gordion: Exploration over a Century’, [in:] The Archaeology of Midas and the Phrygians, L. Kealhofer (ed.), Philadelphia, pp. 10–21. DOI:

Samuel D., 1996, ‘Investigation of Ancient Egyptian Baking and Brewing Methods by Correlative Microscopy’, Science 273, pp. 488–490.

Samuel D., 1997, ‘Fermentation Technology 3000 Years Ago – The Archaeology of Ancient Egyptian Beer’, Society for General Microbiology Quarterly 24, pp. 3–5. DOI:

Samuel D., ‘Brewing and Baking’, [in:] Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, P. T. Nicholson, I. Shaw (eds.), Cambridge, pp. 537-576.

Toussaint-Samat M., 2002, Historia naturalna i moralna jedzenia, transl. A. Matusiak, M. Ochab, Warszawa.

Vassileva M., 1997. ‘King Midas. Between the Balkans and Asia Minor’, Dialogues d’histoire ancienne 23, pp. 9–20. DOI:

Whitehead J., 2014, ‘The Brewing of Etruscan Beer’, Etruscan News 15, p. 14.

Węcowski M., 2011, Sympozjon czyli wspólne picie. Początki greckiej biesiady arystokratycznej (IX-VII wiek p.n.e.), Warszawa.




How to Cite

Duszyński, W. “Beer in Antiquity, Antiquity in Beer? A Few Remarks About the Reception of Ancient Culture in Modern Brewery”. Classica Cracoviensia, vol. 24, Dec. 2021, pp. 103-16, doi:10.12797/CC.24.2021.24.06.