Penn State anthropologists to discuss big cultural impact of small-scale brewing

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State anthropologists French Kirk and Sam Sholtis will be talking about the anthropology of alcohol with a focus on small scale brewing at this month’s Science on Tap event.

Alcohol consumption is widespread and takes on various forms and cultural meanings across the globe. It has also played a central role in almost all human societies. Although this social practice may negatively affect human health, universal alcohol consumption has persisted throughout human evolution, suggesting that drinking must have had some adaptive benefit.

Kirk, an anthropological archaeologist at Penn State and co-host of the Discovery channel series Artifact or Fiction says, “I’m interested in understanding the social and economic impact of small-scale alcohol production in various cultures around the world.”

Sholtis is an award-winning home brewer and received his doctoral degree in anthropology at Penn State in 2008. He is currently a science writer for the Eberly College of Science at Penn State and will be joining in on the discussion.

The Science on Tap event will take place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Federal Tap House in downtown State College. Attendees are reminded that they must be 21 years of age, or older, to attend.

The event is part of the monthly Science on Tap series, which is designed to allow informal discussions between leading Penn State researchers and members of the public. 

Science on Tap is presented by the Science Policy Society, a graduate student-run organization that aims to teach researchers about the connection between their research and public policy.

Somani, who is one of the coordinators for Science on Tap and is a doctoral student at Penn State, is confident that the State College community will find this to be an engaging discussion.

“This is a topic I think that people across all backgrounds can relate to,” Somani says.

For more information, visit the society’s website at:

Last Updated September 14, 2018