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New DNA evidence suggests that lager beer originated in South America

New DNA evidence suggests that lager beer originated in South America


South Americans were brewing a form of lager beer, made from maize,  many centuries before it appeared in Europe.  The brewing of beer requires a special hybrid yeast that can be found nowhere in Europe until the Late Middle Ages. 

One rarely sees this mentioned in anthropological texts, but corn beer was being regularly consumed in the Lower Southeast, when the first French and Spanish explorers explored the region in the 1500s.  The only times that I see it mentioned in the 1700s and 1800s is in descriptions of the Seminoles and Hitchiti Creeks.  

Read the article below and be astonished.

Lager Beer From South America

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    I know alcohol and how it was used by the Europeans as a weapon against the natives is a sensitive topic. But one of the standard lines used in the discussion of the topic is that before the Europeans showed up, the natives did not have any alcoholic beverages. I have talked to various native friends and there is evidence that alcoholic beverages were produced before Columbus. The catch is that the natives did not have the technology or material needed to create the equipment to distill the initial alcoholic results to jack up the alcohol content. This kept the alcohol content down to maybe a couple of percent. So the drinks produced could not be too harmful. This does not excuse what the Europeans did, but at least the discussion needs to be based on facts.

    • Yes, all of the advanced peoples of Mesoamerica, South America and the Southeast had beer and wine. I have not seen any reports of distilled beverages, but surprising info is always coming forward. The indigenous American peoples, who have problems metabolizing alcohol are all former hunter-gatherers. Their digestive systems never mutated to digest diets high in carbohydrates.


        Years ago, I exchanged emails with a good ole’ boy who grew up way out in the woods of Appalachia. He knew two things about his family’s history. First of all, they had Indian ancestry. Secondly, the family had survived economically for many generations by making moonshine.

        The man was really proud that he had his grandfather’s recipes. As the conversation went on, it suddenly occurred to him that the way the mash is made (the starting product that is fermented to create alcohol which is then distilled to increase the alcohol concentration) fell within what is known about drinks the natives made. He began to seriously wonder about the origin of his prized recipes.

        In Colonial times, the European settlers made drinks like birch beer. How did they figure out how to make this? You put locally gathered ingredients into a not at all sanitary wood container and biology happened. Hadn’t their native neighbors been doing this all along?

        What messed up the fun was the European introduction of distillation technology that upped the carbohydrate content beyond what the native digestive system could handle, as Richard pointed out.


    Richard, The university types just refuse to accept their clear facts and data that there were families (sea merchants) that were trading with the people over here for a long time from Europe and the Middle East and the Pacific islands.

    • Mark, That what it appears to me. The timing of beer’s “invention” in Northern Germany suggests that Scandinavian merchants brought the hybrid yeast back to Europe.


        Richard, You are like “Sherlock Homes” always following the data. Did you catch the Name of the Beer: “Cha-chi” as in “Tama-Cha-chi” or translated by you “Trade Dog” of the people that helped the Brits of Savanna, Ga? How did that Chile name get all the way to SC/Georgia. More clues that some peoples did in fact migrate from South America to the South East US.

        • Tamachichi – Chichi means dog in several Mexican languages, but not in South America. However, I am pretty sure that the Itza Mayas long ago migrated up from Peru. They were under the domination of the Totonacs for 600 years and the Mayas for 800 years, so they have lost most of their South American words. There are still a few basic words Itza (Chiapas and Guatemala) and Cho’i Maya (Tabasco State) which are similar or the same to Panoan.


            August 1, 1734 England with Noble Creeks and Cherokees present: Tamachichi is addressed as “Tomo- Cha-chi” and perhaps his real name and therefor he was connecting himself with an ancient product called “Cha-chi” from South America to Europe. The first dark Beer?

          • That was an English speakers mistake. Trust me . . . His real name, written in Creek, was Tvmvchichi.


      Here is my half-assed theory as to why American academia is so resistant to the idea of pre-Columbian, Old World contacts.

      When America gained its independence, it struggled to be respected on the world stage. This included its scholarly pursuits. Europe was able to claim to be ahead of everybody when it came to subjects like math, technology, and medicine. Nothing that the Americans could do back then would surpass what the Europeans were doing. This gave American scholars a huge inferiority complex.

      Then came along the topic of the origins and nature of native American cultures. At the time, based on the evidence available, it really did look the native cultures developed in a purely local setting. This allowed American scholars to claim exclusive rights to a subject that was not already dominated by Europeans. The American scholars could be the only true experts and lord their knowledge of the subject over everyone else.

      As it is now being seen that there is strong evidence that native America was not isolated from the rest of the world, this means that generations of American scholars were flat out wrong. Many egos are being put at risk here. It also means that non-American scholars will a huge stake in and deserve input into a revised view of pre-Columbian America. This busts a game that has been going on for two centuries.


    I learned from an Aleut that the Alaskan natives made a mildly alcoholic drink from crow berries. These are a lot like blue berries, but are a bit wider and flatter in shape. Their skin has an iridescent black color, like crow feathers, hence the name.

    Again, this drink did not cause problems until the Russian fur traders introduced metal containers that were used for distillation.


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