Published: Oct. 26, 2023
pot used in ancient beer brewing

Defining Beer in the Ancient World
By Travis Rupp

Wednesday, November 29, 7:00pm
Eaton Humanities #250 & Zoom
Free and open to the public
Download the poster



This lecture will be a deep dive into the academic debate over what constitutes beer throughout history and how it was initially “invented” in the ancient world. Travis will discuss his most recent involvement in United States federal law where the definition of beer is being hotly debated and contested by macro breweries. As an expert witness in a recently decided federal case, Travis was called upon to discuss the origins and definitions of beer throughout antiquity and why the definition of beer is what it is today. Having been relieved of his legal duties (for now), he can share that message publicly. This presentation will demonstrate how beer is a timeless artifact that ties the present to the distant past.

Travis Rupp
is a full-time lecturer in Classics, Art History, History, Anthropology, and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he has taught for 13 years. Since 2010 he has taught Egyptian, Near Eastern, Greek, and Roman. His scholarly expertise focus on ancient food and alcohol production, ancient sport and spectacle, and Pompeii and the cities of Vesuvius. He worked at Avery Brewing Company for nine years as the Wood Cellar and Research and Development Manager. Rupp holds the title of Beer Archaeologist and founded Avery’s Ales of Antiquity Series, which ran from 2016-2020. He serves on the National Advisory board for the Chicago Brewseum and owns The Beer Archaeologist - a company dedicated to research and experimental archaeology of historic beer. As a result of his career and passions, Rupp is researching and writing about the beginnings of beer in the Roman military, brewing in the early monastic tradition, and beer production in Revolutionary America. His first book will be about the changing definition of beer throughout history. Recently Rupp’s travels and research abroad have focused on monastic brewing in Italy from 400-900 CE, brewing in Roman Britain during the 2nd century CE, beer production at Mt. Vernon and Monticello, and the survival of the Belgian brewing tradition during WWI.