Did Beer Start the Agricultural Revolution?

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2 Minute Read
Posted by Karyn Moyer
Agricultural Revolution

Beer has been around for thousands of years, and some researchers believe that the beverage helped fuel the rise of agriculture. Food in the Stone Age consisted of barley bread, beer, and a variety of means and grains, so it is believed that the civilization living in an eastern Mediterranean region in 13,000 B.C., known as the Natufian culture, began sowing grain seeds.

The oldest beer has been dated as far back as 3400 B.C. with evidence of brewing also dating back to the Natufians. The beverage was most likely discovered accidentally when cooks left out mashed or boiled grains long enough for the fermenting process to work.  

Scientists believe this culture began harvesting, rather than hunting and gathering because they needed extra grain to produce beer, among other things. This is around the time tools used for harvesting and processing, such as sickles, baskets, and mortars started appearing.

Beer Today

Beer is mostly made from water, hops, malting barley, and yeast. With the rise of Craft Beers today, other ingredients have made their way into the brewing process. Think of fall pumpkin flavors and chocolate beers.

Over 165 million bushels of barley were produced in 2020. About three-quarters of that are used for food/malt purposes, which includes beer. The rest of the barley produced is used for livestock feed. The top states that produce barley are Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota.

Hops on the other hand are mainly grown for use in the drink. In 2019 almost 60,000 acres of hops were harvested in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and other states.


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Facts and Details
History: Did Beer Spur the Rise of Agriculture and Politics
Daily Infographic: 24 Fun Facts About Beer Infographic
Ag Marketing Resource Center
Hop Growers of America
Beer Institute


We're just gonna go ahead and agree with this one!
Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer is the Senior Marketing Manager at AgHires, with over 13 years of marketing experience, over 9 of which she has spent in the agriculture marketing industry. Growing up in a small farming town, Karyn has a deep appreciation for the importance of agriculture and its role in our communities. Since joining AgHires in 2017, Karyn has used her wealth of experience and knowledge to help job seekers and clients achieve their goals. She has a passion for learning and discovering new ways to support the industry.