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The Free Thinking Festival Essay - Beer and the British Empire

Sam Goodman explores the benefits of beer drinking in an India during British Empire rule and asks whether it left a legacy today

From a breakfast drink to start the day to the treatment of bullet-wounds, beer has been a constant accompaniment to British life for centuries. Nowhere was this truer than in Imperial India where beer played a central role in colonial commerce, medicine and leisure.

Sam Goodman of the University of Bournemouth explores this colonial drinking culture and how many of its habits have lingered to the present day, noting that whilst the Empire might be long gone, British taste for beer has proved remarkably consistent.

The New Generation Thinkers are the winners of an annual scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics at the start of their careers who can turn their research into fascinating broadcasts.

Recording in front of an audience at the Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead. If you want to hear Sam Goodman discuss his research you can download The Essay and conversation as an Arts and Ideas podcast.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Available now

18 minutes