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The Points Interview — Herman Ronnenberg

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Editor’s Note: “Dr. Beer,” Herman W. Ronnenberg, responds to Points’ questions re his latest book: Material Culture of Breweries (Left Coast Press, 2011).

1. Describe your book in terms your bartender could understand.


2. What do you think a bunch of drug and alcohol historians might find particularly interesting about your book?

Many students of alcohol history know little about the manufacturing techniques or the science behind alcohol production. Particularly beer is poorly understood due to the complex processes involved in manufacture. My book is a quick yet thorough way to develop basic knowledge. There are some noteworthy differences between beer consumption and consumption of beverages with higher alcohol percentages.

3. Now that the hard part is over, what is the thing YOU find most interesting about your book?

Photo of  Herman Ronnenberg

4. Every book project leaves some stones unturned. What stone are you most curious to see turned over soon?

I would like to see archaeological studies of many more breweries than have been done so far. More data would make comparisons sounder. I would also like to see continued the growth in research on breweries, building on the trend of the past two or three decades.  Beer and brewing are finally becoming legitimate areas of historical study.

5. BONUS QUESTION:  In an audio version of this book, who should provide the narration?

Morgan Freeman should do the reading for my audio book.



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