“Empire in a Bottle: Tales of a Beer Historian”
By Malcolm F. Purinton
“Why don’t you write your literature review about alcohol?” my African colonialism professor asked me during my master’s degree. “I can do that?!” I replied. The possibility of researching and writing on the history of beer and alcohol was, honestly, mind-blowing. I had already been an avid homebrewer for many years and had just begun to write articles for a regional beer magazine on historical topics. That first academic piece of writing ended up being a literature review about British alcohol policies. This was 10 years ago and nine years before I completed my doctoral dissertation focusing on the world history of Pilsner: “Empire in a Bottle: Commodities, Culture, and the Consumption of Pilsner Beer in the British Empire, c. 1870–1914.” It has been a lot of hard work and fun since that fateful question.