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29th May 2024

The Meaning of Beer

Jonny Garrett’s fourth book, The Meaning of Beer, is unveiled today – with pre-orders of the hardback, ebook and audiobook now available ahead of its release on 7 November via Atlantic in the UK (link here) and Harper Collins in the US (link here). You can watch Jonny talk about the book here on the Craft Beer Channel,

The Meaning of Beer is a revisionist history of humanity, claiming that beer is among its greatest inventions along with fire and language. Since its invention 13,000 years ago our love of beer has shaped everything from religious ceremonies to advertising, and architecture to bioengineering. The people who built the pyramids were paid in ale, the first fridge was built for beer not food, bacteria was discovered while investigating sour beer, Germany’s beer halls hosted Hitler’s rise to power, and brewers yeast may yet be the answer to climate change. Ultimately, it’s not a book about how we made beer, but how beer made us.

The Meaning of Beer tells the stories of these incredible human moments and inventions, taking you to some of the best-known beer destinations in the world – Munich and Oktoberfest, Carlsberg Brewery’s historic laboratory, St Louis and the home of Budweiser – as well as those lesser-known, from a 5,000 year old brewery in the Egyptian desert to Arctic Svalbard, home to the world’s most northerly pub.

Jonny Garrett was beer writer of the year in 2019 and 2022, and is the current chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers. His third book, A Year in Beer (CAMRA, 2021) won multiple awards including the Guild’s book of the year, Fortnum & Mason’s Drinks Book of the Year and the British Guild of Food Writers Drinks Book of the Year.

For more information contact Jonny on

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