A history of beer. The beer in Italy
In the Middle Age, in Italy as in the rest of Europe, beer began to be known and appreciated, also thanks to the mercenary armies that came from the North and made know this beverage. In the 19th century, almost all the breweries were headed by Austro-German entrepreneurs headquartered in Italy that, later, collaborated with Italian businessmen. At the end of the 19th century, after the aforementioned discoveries that led to an improvement in quality, a decrease of costs and to a wider distribution, there was a remarkable increase both in production and consumption. Then, when the First World War started, there were difficulties in finding the barley to produce malt and, as the national product was of low quality, the beer production suddenly slowed down.
At the end of the war, the beer production experienced an exceptional increase until 1927, when some laws were enacted (among them the Marescalchi law) in order to protect the wine sector from beer competition. As a consequence, there was a drop in production: from over 1,500,000 hectolitres in 1925 to less than 700,000 hectolitres in 1930.
Only in 1950 a slow recovery began.During the sixties and seventies, together with the development of the food distribution channels, the habit of beer-drinking spread widely. By now, beer is part of the eating habits of Italian people, and rightfully so.