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Liquid Bread: Beer and Brewing in Cross-Cultural Perspective

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Volume 7

Anthropology of Food & Nutrition

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Liquid Bread

Beer and Brewing in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Edited by Wulf Schiefenhövel and Helen Macbeth

264 pages, 24 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-215-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2011)

ISBN  978-1-78238-033-7 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (May 2013)

eISBN 978-0-85745-216-0 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®




This important volume sheds new light on the social, political, and economic role of beer in society and greatly increases the depth and breadth of anthropological studies on drinking. Schiefenhövel and Macbeth have compiled a holistic and to some extent comprehensive volume that embraces biological, archaeological, linguistic, and sociocultural perspectives on beer...Highly Recommended."  ·  Choice

This volume has three main strengths, although a careful reading of each of its chapters will yield many other gems of insight and information…makes a solid and I expect long-lasting contribution to the anthropology of food.”  ·  JRAI

This book is both an excellent source of original interdisciplinary research on many aspects of beer and an entertaining read, suitable for both scholars and the educated general public. It contains well written studies of a beverage that has become a staple in many cultures, including those of the German-speaking peoples.”  ·  Yearbook of German-American Studies    

With contributions from a wide range of disciplines, this book provides an introduction to the social aspects of beer in modern society and how this has evolved over the very many years of its history and development…I found this book to be completely absorbing and thought provoking…an unexpected gem and the perfect book to keep in a travel bag.”  ·  Brewer & Distiller International

"This impressive volume based on an original interdisciplinary and cross-national approach to the study of beer and brewing . . . will not only make an important contribution to our knowledge of beer and brewing, but also of drinking cultures and historical change. It will be of interest to anthropologists, social scientists and the wider public."  ·  Marion Demossier, University of Bath


Beer is an ancient alcoholic drink which, although produced through a more complex process than wine, was developed by a wide range of cultures to become internationally popular. This book is the first multidisciplinary, cross-cultural collection about beer. It explores the brewing processes used in antiquity and in traditional societies; the social and symbolic roles of beer-drinking; the beliefs and activities associated with it; the health-promoting effects as well as the health-damaging risks; and analyses the modern role of large multinational companies, which own many of the breweries, and the marketing techniques that they employ.

Wulf Schiefenhövel is Head of the Human Ethology Group, Max- Planck-Institute, Andechs, Germany; Professor for Medical Psychology and Ethnomedicine at the University of Munich; President of the International Society for Human Ethology; and European deputy chair of the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (ICAF). He has carried out field studies in Melanesia since 1965.

Helen Macbeth is President of the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (ICAF) and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Anthropology Department, Oxford Brookes University. Among other books she has edited or coedited are three volumes in this series, Food Preferences and Taste: Continuity and Change, Researching Food Habits: Methods and Problems and Consuming the Inedible: Neglected Dimensions of Food Choice.

Subject: Food & Nutrition Anthropology (General)


List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Contributors

Helen Macbeth and Wulf Schiefenhövel

Chapter 1. Natural Ingestion of Ethanol by Animals:  Why?

Chapter 2. Healthy or Detrimental? Physiological, Psychiatric and Evolutionary Aspects of Drinking Beer
Peter Kaiser, Gerhard Medicus and Martin Brüne

Chapter 3. Beer: How it’s made – the Basics of Brewing
Keith Thomas

Chapter 4. Interdisciplinary Investigations into the Brewing Technology of the Ancient Near East and the Potential of the Cold Mashing Process
Martin Zarnkow, Adelheid Otto and Berthold Einwag

Chapter 5. Beer in Prehistoric Europe
Hans-Peter Stika

Chapter 6. Beer and Beer Culture in Germany
Franz Meussdoerffer

Chapter 7. Europe North and South, Beer and Wine: Some Reflections about Beer and Mediterranean Food
F. Xavier Medina

Chapter 8. Living in the Streets:  Beer Acceptance in Andalusia during the Twentieth Century
Isabel González Turmo

Chapter 9. The Thirst for Tradition:  Beer Production and Consumption in the United Kingdom
Paul Collinson and Helen Macbeth

Chapter 10. Beer in the Czech Republic
Jana Parízková and Martina Vlkova

Chapter 11. Alcohol Consumption and Binge Drinking in German Fraternities: Anthropological and Social Psychological Aspects 
Gerard Dammann

Chapter 12. Rugby, Racing and Beer in New Zealand: Colonising a Consuming Culture
Nancy J. Pollock

Chapter 13. Beer, Ritual and Conviviality in Northern Cameroon
Igor de Garine

Chapter 14. The Gender of Beer:  Beer Symbolism among the Kapsiki/Higi and the Dogon
Walter van Beek

Chapter 15. Ritual Use of Beer in South West Tanzania
Ruth Kutalek

Chapter 16. Brewing Sorghum Beer in Burkina Faso: a Study in Food Technology from the Perspective of Anthropological Linguistics
François Belliard

Chapter 17. Rice Beer and Social Cohesion in the Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak
Monica Janowski

Chapter 18. Tradition and Change: Beer Consumption in Northeast Luzon, Philippines
Dante Aquino and Gerard Persoon

Chapter 19. Culture, Market and Beer Consumption
Mabel Gracia Arnaiz

Chapter 20. Beer and European Media: Global vs. Local
Luis Cantarero and Monica Stacconi


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