Hoot-Mon Ginger Beer History

Hoot-Mon is Ginger Beer is made from a centuries-old recipe that has a colorful history. Around the middle of the 18th Century, the first known commercial Ginger Beer appeared in European countries. The original Ginger Beer was cloudy, zesty & could contain as much as 11% alcohol by volume. Only Jamaican ginger was used and the drink was made using a natural fermentation process.

By 1790 England was exporting Ginger Beer to Canada & the United States; which was made possible by the advent of pressure-sealed stoneware jars, since the drink had some natural carbonation pressure from the process (fizz). It wasn't long however, before local breweries began to appear in both North American countries.

Early Ginger Beer was produced locally in small quantities for use by taverns or families. Its popularity blossomed after the Civil War, when it was produced commercially in larger quantities, and transported to new markets. The most popular region for Ginger Beer was Western New York State, especially Syracuse and Buffalo. Ginger Beer breweries flourished along the Erie Canal due to convenient transportation and availability of raw materials for the stoneware for the Ginger Beer bottles. Ginger Beer was produced in smaller quantities in twenty other states.

At the turn of 19th century, Ginger Beer was still being brewed in many areas; however, an alternative made from ginger extract was developed around this time & named GINGER ALE. This beverage was clear & pungent though by all reports, never achieved the character of real Ginger Beer. The popularity of Ginger Beer was still rising in England, Canada & the United States, leaving ginger ale to remain an inferior substitute for at least half a century.

In the 1850s, new English laws forced local Ginger Beer producers to reduce the alcohol volume of their products to 2%. Even watered-down, Ginger Beer remained popular, though ginger ale was gaining ground. This was even more the case in Canada, where ginger ale is probably still more popular than in any other country. Production of full strength Ginger Beer continued in the United States until the 1920s, when Prohibition brought it to a sudden end. This was at the height of the beverage's popularity, whilst over 500 Ginger Beer producers operated in the US. In Canada there were more than double that amount, and in the UK, there were over 4,000 breweries.

The Modern Era

Prohibition triggered the age of soda pop in the United States. New soft drinks like Coca-Cola, root beer & carbonated ginger ales were quick to replace alcoholic beverages. In England, low strength Ginger Beer was still produced & sealed in stoneware until the 1940s. At that time, competition from glass bottling plants & the rising cost of pottery production finally brought the British love affair with the drink to a conclusion. Ginger Beer had been the most popular alcoholic beverage in England for almost 200 years.

Real Ginger Beer has since faded into obscurity. Ginger ale remains widely available in soft drink form & a simple culture of ginger, sugar & water can be grown to produce a beverage often referred to as ginger beer. It was the specific use of both Jamaican ginger & the SCOBY however, that gave real Ginger Beer its famously characteristic flavor & qualities.

Our Hoot-Mon Ginger Beer is made from the original methods and recipe dating back to the 1800’s.  It is truly a drink from the past. What a Hoot-Mon!