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Greenville & Hockessin Life

First State’s beer history recounted in new book

Aug 14, 2015 12:35PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Delawareans are familiar with Dogfish Head, Fordham, and Iron Hill breweries but many are not aware that the state has one of the oldest brewing histories in the United States. Extending back over 375 years to the landing of the Swedes at Fort Christina, the state’s rich brewing history has largely been overlooked and overshadowed until now. Wilmington native John Medkeff, Jr. hopes to set the record straight by telling the story of beer and brewing in the First State from the earliest European settlers until modern day craft breweries with his new book, “Brewing in Delaware.”

Medkeff began his research in 1996 on a topic he discovered to be scarcely documented. Brewing in Delaware includes more than 200 brewing-related images that Medkeff culled from museums, historical societies, private collections, and his own personal archives. Many of the photographs are rare and some have never been published before.

Brewing in Delaware is available for purchase at most Delaware bookstores and online retailers. The pictorial history is part of the “Images of America” series by Arcadia Publishing, the nation’s leading publisher of local and regional history.

All of the author’s proceeds will be donated to two Delaware charities, the Delaware Historical Society and the Friends of Historical Riverview Cemetery.

If your organization or business is interested in having Medkeff do a book signing or lecture, you may contact him via email at [email protected].

Those interested in learning more about Delaware’s brewing history are encouraged to visit Medkeff’s website,, and his Facebook group, Delaware Beer History.

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