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"How Beer Traveled the World," a talk by Jeffrey Pilcher


Most every society has fermented alcoholic beverages—Mexican pulque, Peruvian chicha, Japanese sake, Chinese baijiu, Indian palm toddy, African sorghum beer—but a particular variety, German lager beer, has largely displaced these local brewing traditions to become a global consumer icon. This talk examines how European beer traveled the world over the last 200 years through networks of trade, migration and colonialism. It pays particular attention to the role of taste in the reception of beer. The talk concludes by comparing the recent spread of craft brewing to earlier migrations of beer.

Jeffrey Pilcher is a Professor in the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He has been a leading figure in the emerging scholarly field of food history. From an early research focus on Mexico and Latin America, he has expanded his scope to food in world history. He is the author of ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (1998), The Sausage Rebellion: Public Health, Private Enterprise, and Meat in Mexico City (2006), and Food in World History (2006). His latest book, Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food (2012), seeks to historicize authenticity and show how Mexico’s national cuisine developed through global interactions, particularly with Mexican American cooks.  His current book project examines the world history of beer over the past two hundred years.

A reception will follow the talk. This event is sponsored by the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, UTSC, the Department of History, UTSG and Mill Street Brewery.

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