Drinking History Talk: Ginger Beer in the Americas

Mariners' Museum
100 Museum Drive
Newport News, VA 23606
United States 100 Museum Drive Newport News 23606


  • Guest price: $5 admission to lecture, plus $1 Museum admission
  • Member price: $Free

One of the first fermented beverages brewed in the Americas was ginger beer, which got its start in the Caribbean in the late 1400s and quickly spread throughout the colonies. The beverage can trace its roots back to Sir Thomas Harriott, a scientist and mathematician, who sailed with Sir Walter Raleigh's Roanoke expedition in 1585.

Harriott's descendants settled throughout the Caribbean and over the subsequent centuries became one of the leading families in the salt-production industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands. They reside in the Caribbean to this day. Georgia Belk, a 13th-generation descendant of Thomas Harriott, has been working to keep island traditions alive by bringing traditional fermented ginger beer back into the mainstream.

In this enlightening talk, Ms. Belk interweaves colonial history, family lore and the culinary past to create a fascinating portrait of brewing and living in the Caribbean.