A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 30, 2009
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” is misattributed to Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). Franklin did write this, in a 1779 letter to André 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.” Franklin loved wine more than he loved beer.

The incorrect Benjamin Franklin beer quotation began appearing on the internet in 1997-1998.


Wikiquote
Benjamin Franklin (17 January 1706 – 17 April 1790) was an American inventor, journalist, printer, diplomat, and statesman.
(...)
Misattributed
. God made beer because he loves us and wants us to be happy.
The quote, and its many variants, has been widely attributed to Franklin; however, there has never been an authoritative source for the quote, and research indicates that it is very likely a misquotation of Franklin’s words regarding wine: “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.” (see sourced section above for a more extensive quotation of this passage from a letter to André Morellet), written in 1779.

What Ben Franklin Didn’t Say About Beer
The Myth of Ben Franklin and His Love of Beer
While closing up the last edits of Beer & Food: An American History, I started to read Walter Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin, An American Life Knowing me to be the history buff that I am, my wife picked up a trade paperback of the 2004 printing on one of her business trips.

I saw this as a possible answer to something that puzzled me throughout the research and writing of Beer & Food; no matter where I looked to source Franklin’s supposed famous quote “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” I came up empty-handed. To make matters more confusing, I knew that Franklin was very big on wine, not beer. Anyone who lived in France for nine years as the U.S. Ambassador to France, surely had partaken more of the noble grape in lieu of French beer (wouldn’t you, beer drinker or not?).
(...)
In all of the issues of Poor Richard’s, no mention is made of God and beer.
(...)
Ready to give up on my quest to find the actual attribution to Franklin’s supposed God and beer quote, I finally came across a letter from him to André Morellet, a French economist, written about 1779.  READ THIS LETTER CAREFULLY;

On Wine
FROM THE ABBE FRANKLIN TO THE ABBE 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.

Google Books
The Frugal Gourmet Cooks With Wine
By Jeff Smith
New York, NY: Morrow
1986
Pg. 73:
THE SURE PROOF WINE AMD THEOLOGY
Wine is sure proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy! — Benjamin Franklin

Google Books
Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind’s First Three Million Years
By Robert J. Wenke
Edition: 3, illustrated
Published by Oxford University Press
1990
Pg. 18:
Benjamin Franklin was largely serious when he said that wine was a continuing proof that God loves us very much and wants us to be happy

Google Groups: rec.guns
Newsgroups: rec.guns
From: Blob
Date: 1997/12/04
Subject: Re: Gunshows and CCW

Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy
-- Benjamin Franklin

Google Books
Orion Afield
By Orion Society
Published by Orion Society, 1997
Item notes: v. 1-3
Pg. 8:
I love the one proclaimed by Benjamin Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Google Books
Beer for Pete’s Sake: The Wicked Adventures of a Brewing Maverick
By Pete Slosberg
Published by Siris Books
1998
Pg. 141:
BEER IS PROOF THAT GOD LOVES US.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Google Groups: torfree.general
Newsgroups: torfree.general
From: (Sam Lefkowitz)
Date: 1998/03/14
Subject: Beer

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Google Groups: comp.sys.be.misc
Newsgroups: comp.sys.be.misc
From: Peter Ivanick
Date: 1998/04/15
Subject: Re: Be dead slow on my Pentium 200 and NT boot selection doesn’t work....

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Google Groups: alt.music.cheap-trick
Newsgroups: alt.music.cheap-trick
From: (Rusty Wallace™)
Date: 1998/10/15
Subject: God DOES love us (was: You Can Still “Surrender” To Jesus)

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
-- Benjamin Franklin

The Aerodrome Forum
Vic Mouton
18 October 1998, 12:32 AM
Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy - Benjamin Franklin

Google Groups: rec.skydiving
Newsgroups: rec.skydiving
From: James
Date: 1998/12/22
Subject: Beer Quotes

11) Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
-- Benjamin Franklin

HighBeam Research
Students stage rally against alcohol policy
Stephanie Oliva
University Wire
03-31-1999
(Daily Pennsylvanian) (U-WIRE) PHILADELPHIA—Engaging in chants of “What do we want? Beer! When do we want it? Now!” between approximately 800 and 1,000 students gathered on College Green Tuesday afternoon to protest the recent decisions made by the administration regarding the University of Pennsylvania’s alcohol policy.
(...)
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” the front of the shirt read, with the back adding, “Absolute Judy Corrupts Absolutely.”

Google Books
Key West Graffiti
By W. J. Tolien
Buffalo, NY: Thorner Press
2001
Pg. 70:
Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Monday, March 30, 2009 • Permalink