The oldest brewery in the world is really, really old. While earlier evidence of small-scale beer-making has been found in China and parts of the Middle East that are now in Iran and Iraq, archeologists have recently discovered the remains of a full-scale beer factory dating back about 5,000 years in Abydos, in the Egyptian desert. (They may not have produced beer, but these are the 30 oldest structures in the world.)
That makes Germany’s Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan seem like a veritable neophyte, since it only claims a founding date of 1040 — a mere 981 years ago. At least two other breweries, one each in Germany and Belgium, trace their origins back to the 11th century, too, and plenty of others appeared in the centuries between then and 1829 — the year the oldest extant brewery in the United States came into existence. (These are America’s 30 oldest beers.)
To compile a list of the oldest breweries in the world, 24/7 Tempo consulted articles on the subject appearing in a variety of beer, travel, and general interest publications, including Vinepair, Oldest, Beer Connoisseur, Old Liquors Magazine, Find Me a Brewery, Travel Trivia, Mental Floss, Slate, and Medium, and verified founding dates and other information from brewery websites and other sources.
While the pioneering American brewery — Pennsylvania’s D.G. Yuengling & Son — can prove that it has been in business continuously since its founding, that’s not necessarily the case with all the beer producers on this list. Some date their beginnings to a micro-brewing tavern or a monastery brewery that may or may not have a direct connection to their present-day operations; others have changed locations and sometimes expanded beyond all recognition. But some really have been around for centuries, and all have genuine roots in the past.