March 29, 2012

March 30 | Misquote Ben Franklin Day

Adorning the wall of one of the newest beer bars in the Valley is this quotation.
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Ben Franklin
It's one of the most persistent myths in beer.

It's been heavily debunked for over 5 years and it simply refuses to go away. Ben Franklin never said it. He said something strikingly similar about wine in a 1779 letter to AndrĂ© Morellet:
Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy. (Source: Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003. p.374.)
It's a bit wordy for a t-shirt and frankly you don't see very many oenophiles in t-shirts, so you can see where somewhere in the modern beer and t-shirt era this was creatively edited and it stuck.
And it kept on going.

And going.

Breweries even.

Now I am among the first to point out when beer is treated unfairly when compared to wine, but we ought to let Team Wine have this one back. Even when people write about how wrong it is it won't die quietly. That's why since 2009, I've supported Misquote Ben Franklin Day. On March 30 every year hence, I've encouraged people to make up quotes and attribute them to Ben Franklin.

A documented Franklin beverage quote
It started on, a homebrewing forum, and continued on to social media outlets like twitter and now Facebook. Join us on Friday and use the #misquotebenfrankinday hashtag on twitter or hit us up on the Facebook page (

If you blog about it, leave us a comment. Maybe you have a guess to which Valley establishment I'm talking about.

Who knows. Perhaps your equally non-genuine quote will live on in t-shirt or mural form!


  1. Dean Sullivan, STL (home of Schlafly and the baseball Cardinals)March 30, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    It really doesn't matter who said it, whether it's Ben Franklin, Frank Benjamin, or Joe Beerdrinker (referential integrity aside). The fact that beer is proof of the love of God cannot be denied. God is alive, long live beer! :)

  2. Should we put it to a vote Dean? ;)

  3. Oh, I am thrilled that it's not too late to misquote Ben Franklin. He said to save chastity for last when habituating the thirteen virtues, adding that a person's physician or confidante must determine when venery is needed for health.