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Americans To Toast Ben Franklin’s 300th Birthday With Poor Richard’s Ale
November 22, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
During January 2006, breweries all over America will honor Benjamin Franklin’s 300th birthday by serving a beer specially brewed for the occasion. Formulated to resemble a quaff that Franklin himself might have enjoyed and brewed in small batches by independent breweries nationwide, Poor Richard’s Ale offers the perfect beverage for toasting a man some call “The First American.”

“Franklin is widely quoted as saying: ‘Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,’” said Ray Daniels, Director of Craft Beer Marketing for the Brewers Association. “So when the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary asked us to help create a beer to celebrate this milestone we were happy to become involved.”

In October, the Association held a competition to identify a suitable recipe and then began enlisting brewers from across the country to brew batches of Poor Richard’s Ale. As a result, scores of breweries and other pubs will serve the celebratory beer in January. It will even be on tap at official birthday celebrations to be held in Philadelphia on January 17th. Consumers can find locations serving Poor Richard’s Ale by going to

The recipe for Poor Richard’s Ale was chosen by a panel of award-winning brewers and others with an eye toward history. It included two distinguishing ingredients: molasses and corn. Both were common in ale during colonial times and each would have helped to reduce the colonists’ dependence on imported British ingredients—a fact that would surely have pleased Franklin.

“The ingredients and flavor were chosen to create a beverage like one that Franklin himself might have enjoyed,” said Nicola Twilley, Director of Public Programming for the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and one of the recipe judges.

The recipe for Poor Richard’s Ale is uniquely American and decidedly colonial, but suited to production in modern craft breweries. As in Franklin’s time, most of the 1400 breweries in America today are independent businesses with a local clientele. During November and December, those brewers will be making their batches of Poor Richard’s Ale, to that it will be in peak condition in January. For full details on the recipe, see

“Since the first Europeans arrived in America, beer has been a cherished part of the national diet,” says Daniels. “Today’s vibrant American beer culture continues that tradition with a range of styles and flavors that reflect the diversity of our country today.”

The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary is a private, non-profit alliance established to mark the three-hundred-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth (1706-2006) with a celebration dedicated to educating the public about Franklin’s enduring legacy and inspiring renewed appreciation of the values he embodied. The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary represents a consortium created in 2000 by the American Philosophical Society, The Franklin Institute, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the University of Pennsylvania. The consortium is supported by a $4 million gift to the nation from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Tercentenary’s projects will form the official national celebration for America’s first founding father to reach 300. For further information, see

Based in Boulder, Colo., U.S.A., the Brewers Association (BA) is a not-for-profit trade and educational association for craft brewers. The Brewers Association was established in 2005 by a merger of the Association of Brewers and the Brewers' Association of America. Visit the website: to learn more. The Brewers Association has an additional membership division of 9,000 homebrewers: American Homebrewers Association.

The association’s activities include events and publishing: World Beer Cup®; Great American Beer Festival®; NBWA/BREWERS Joint Legislative Conference, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®; National Homebrewers Conference; National Homebrew Competition; American Beer Month (July); Zymurgy magazine; The New Brewer magazine; and books on beer and brewing.