blog header banner
How Beer is Processed

It's is the oldest and most widely-consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, with origins tracing back to the early Neolithic Era, or 9500 BC. During the construction of the Great Pyramids, Egyptian workers were paid four to five liters of beer a day for both refreshment and nourishment. Around 3000 BC, beer spread throughout Europe. Early European beers contained fruit, honey, spices, and even narcotic herbs. Hops were finally introduced in the year 822 AD.

Today, the brewing industry is a global phenomenon. In 2015, the United States was the second-largest producer of beer worldwide, producing about 224 million hectoliters of beer, following China. In 2016, Americans spent more than $107.6 billion on beer, outpacing sales of wine, spirits, and water.

In recent years, the greatest increases in beer sales have come from the craft beer category, which increased 10% from 2015 to 2016—well ahead of the overall beer category, which increased only 1.3% - 3.5%.

As for consumption, Americans drank an average of 27 gallons of beer per capita in 2013, with 6% percent of U.S. adults consuming beer every day. Before you crack open your next cold one, find out how your favorite beer is made in our slideshow: 

Malting and Milling

Step 1: Malting and Milling - Creates the color and flavor of the beer and pulls out the starches for fermentation.

Mashing and Lautering

Step 2: Mashing and Lautering Converts the starches into sugars and removes the wort from spent grains.


Step 3: Boiling Hops are added into the boiling wort to create bitterness.


Step 4: Fermenting Yeast is added to eat up the sugars and create the all-important alcohol.

Conditioning and Filtering

Step 5: Conditioning and Filtering Let the beer sit. During this time, the yeast will eat any off-flavors that were created during fermentation.

Pasteurization and Packaging

Step 6: Pasteurization and Packaging Pasteurization kills any remaining yeast. Then it's time to bottle the beer.


Step 7: Enjoy! Here's a toast to beer!

IFT members and Food Technology subscribers: click here to learn more about the beer-making process and recent processing innovations.

Get More Brain Food

Read More Blog Posts

More Brain Food

Chef Gale Gand Shares Stories and Her Grandma’s Emergency Cake Recipe

During SHIFT20, renowned pastry chef Gale Gand led attendees through a virtual baking lesson in which they made Lydia’s Austrian Stuffed Shortbread. There wasn't enough time during the event to answer them all, so Food Technology’s Senior Digital Editor Kelly Hensel followed up with the chef to get the answers to your burning questions.

Flavor Tracking: Where Are They Now?

Industry experts look back on how some of the past flavor trends have evolved in the last five years, focusing in on two that are expected to continue soaring for the foreseeable future.

The Lowdown on Sugar Substitutes

For people consciously working to reduce their sugar intake, but having trouble resisting the temptation of a sweet treat, swapping table sugar for a sugar substitute could help.