Meet Theresa McCulla, the Smithsonian’s Beer Historian

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WASHINGTON D.C.  --  A lot of people may consider the Super Bowl and other widely-recognized national events to be the ultimate days for food and drinks, but there is another sign of the importance of a certain alcohol in American culture.

NBC's Kevin Tibbles talked to the new appointment made in Washington who could now be considered the queen of beers.

George Washington loved a good beer, brewing it in Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson's wife Martha made it in 15 gallon batches, and Barack Obama was the first president to brew beer inside the White House.

The history continues in Washington, as Theresa McCulla is named the Smithsonian's new beer historian.

"It's always been something Americans have loved, it's always been just part of the fabric of our culture," she said.

McCulla has a culinary arts diploma and a doctorate from Harvard, and will now oversee the Smithsonian's brewing history initiative made possible by a donation from the Brewers Association. She will document the history of American brewing and the beer industry.

"Someone over 100 years ago used this vessel to drink beer in the middle of the city, most likely after a work day. That was a way to relax to spend time with your friends, just as you would today," said McCulla, holding an old mug.

Much of the history can be seen in the taps, ads, and songs present in the Smithsonian's current collection that dates back to the 1800s. Some of the artifacts even touch on the days of Prohibition, when beer was outlawed in the U.S.

When asked if the story of America can be told through beer, McCulla replied, "Absolutely. You know, beer helps us connect with stories of immigrant farmers and workers and people who've been brewing and drinking beer throughout American history from the very founding of the nation."

One beer patron agreed. "I think beer has a very large place in American history," he said. "It certainly has a place in my history, and most of the people I know."

McCulla joked that she has recently received many offers for an assistant to her position.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.