This Sunday, beer enthusiasts all over the world will mark the fifth annual International Beer Day by gathering in bars, beer gardens, and private residences to drink beer and spend time with friends and family. International Beer Day was created in Santa Cruz, CA, in 2007 by a small group of beer enthusiasts as an informal event; however, word soon spread and by August 5, 2011, the holiday was celebrated in more than 138 cities in 23 countries. Thanks to standards, celebrating the brewing, serving, and drinking of beer (in moderation) can be safe and satisfying.
Beer can be tasty, refreshing, and relaxing, but, like all alcoholic beverages, it can also pose health and safety risks if consumed too quickly, or in too large a quantity. A standard developed by American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-audited designator ASTM International, ASTM E1879-00(2010), Standard Guide for Sensory Evaluation of Beverages Containing Alcohol, touches on safety, legal, and sample preparation procedures for beer and many other commercially available alcoholic drinks, including wine, cocktails, and distilled spirits.
In addition, a standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 9058:2008, Standard tolerances for bottles, sets standards for tolerances for glass bottles between 50 and 5,000 milliliters, a range that covers both the 12 ounce bottle containing your favorite mass-produced American light lager and the 750 milliliter bottle of barleywine that you've been saving in your fridge.
If you choose to celebrate International Beer Day in a bar or other commercial establishment selling alcohol, a number of American National Standards (ANS) will help assure your safety and enjoyment. An ANS developed by ANSI member and audited designator Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) can help lead you to your watering hole of choice. ANSI/UL 879-2008, Electric Sign Components, covers electromechanical components, including the neon lighting seen in the beer signs hung in the window of your favorite bar.
ASHRAE, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 72-2005, Method of Testing Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers, prescribes a uniform method of measuring product temperature inside commercial food and beverage cooling units, ensuring that your bottled beer comes to you at the correct temperature. And if you choose to visit a brewpub, or other food-serving establishment as part of your International Beer Day celebrations, a fire safety standard developed by ANSI member and audited designator the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has you covered: NFPA 96-2008, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, covers safety precautions for restaurant air duct systems, and emergency equipment, reducing the possibility of a dangerous fire.
Whether you're having a beer in your backyard or meeting some friends at a local bar, standards ensure that International Beer Day can be enjoyed safely and responsibly.