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Drinking Habits

When Is International Beer Day? 

June 22, 2024
20 min read
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International Beer Day Doesn’t Have To Include Booze

  • International Beer Day is celebrated on the first Friday of every August. It dates back to 2007 when Jesse Avshalomov started what has become a global tradition.
  • You can celebrate International Beer Day in a healthier way by focusing on the spirit of friendship and sharing it embodies, rather than on the drinking.
  • Reframe can help you celebrate your own journey towards a healthier and happier version of yourself that you can discover by changing your relationship with alcohol.

There are all kinds of quirky international holidays out there. In May alone, there’s World Migratory Bird Day (the 11th), International Astronomy Day (the 18th), and World Turtle Day (the 23rd). And if that’s not quirky enough for you, there’s always World Towel Day on the 25th. 

And the first Friday of August? That’s International Beer Day. Celebrated worldwide since 2007, this boozy date (not to be confused with National Beer Day in April) is a day to knock off work early, relax with friends, soak in the summer vibes— and maybe rethink whether beer needs to be part of the festivities at all. 

What Is International Beer Day?

Five glasses of beer on a wooden tray

International Beer Day (a.k.a. World Beer 
Day) is the inspired brainchild of Jesse Avshalomov, who launched the now-
global celebration in 2007 in Santa Cruz, California. As he told Forbes in 2012: 

“A few years back a group of friends and I decided that there needed to be a day in celebration of all things beer, a day in thanks to the people who produce and provide our favorite beverage. So we invented International Beer Day, convinced our local bar to celebrate on August 5th, made a little website for it, gave thanks to the beer industry, and had a good-ol' time.”

People around the world jived with the idea. Avshalomov and his friends started getting emails from everywhere as more and more beer lovers joined in the celebration. Eventually, the holiday made its way across six continents, becoming a late summer staple in 80 countries and 207 cities. As Avshalomov told The Independent,

“We started receiving emails from people who had found the IBD website and held their own celebrations in England and South Africa. We knew then that we needed to take our celebration to the world."

While originally set on August 5th, the date was changed to a looser “first Friday of the month” a few years later. (With good reason — after all, summer or not, getting customers to chug beer with the same gusto on a Monday night as they would on a Friday is sure to put bars in a bit of a pickle.)

When Is International Beer Day 2024?

This year, International Beer Day is on August 2, 2024. But lest we forget, the answer is just a click away. Like any self-respecting 21st century venture, International Beer Day has a website — one that greets visitors with a prominent clock counting down the number of days, minutes, and seconds until the next celebration. The big date is displayed in full view, right in the center.

The Purpose of International Beer Day

Philosophically speaking, International Beer Day knows where it stands. It even has its own purpose statement! Let’s take a closer look, but also let’s keep in mind that the best parts might not be about the beer.

  1. “To gather with friends and enjoy the taste of beer.” The key word here is “friends.” Gathering with friends is all about deepening our connections with others and discovering the true joys of life. In fact, neuroscience says that quality time with others has a direct effect on our brain! Studies have shown that hanging out with our pals can even stave off age-related cognitive decline and dementia. And in the short term, social activities are a great way to naturally boost feel-good neurochemicals such as dopamine, the “reward” molecule.
  2. “To celebrate those responsible for brewing and serving beer.” This one’s all about showing gratitude to others. And gratitude helps our brain, too! Studies show that expressing gratitude leads to tangible benefits for our physical and mental health, leading to a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, better sleep, an optimistic outlook on life, and much more. When it comes to appreciating the beer-making process, we can certainly thank those who put in the effort to brew, serve, and deliver it. But let’s not leave out other “brewers” as well! For example, why not thank your coffee barista while you’re at it?
  3. “To unite the world under the banner of beer, by celebrating the beers of all nations together on a single day.” A focus on building a global community is another key element of the celebration. And it’s a noble one indeed! These days, the world can seem more divided than ever with one crisis following the next. Uniting around a fun pastime (even without drinking the beer) can bring people closer together. And, better yet, we can learn something about other cultures in the process.

Looking deeper into the true meaning behind the International Beer Day mission opens the door to new insights. We can enjoy the holiday in a more profound way and focus on building connections and refreshing friendships (which can always use a tune-up, given how hectic our lives tend to get!). Let’s dig deeper to find out why putting beer in the background will only add to the celebration.

Keep Celebrating, But Hold the Beer

As we can see, the spirit of International Beer Day is certainly in the right place. Focusing on friends while seeing ourselves as part of a global community has all the makings of a great outlook on life. However, putting beer in the center of the celebration is a bit counterproductive. Here’s why.

  • Excessive drinking poses serious health risks. There’s no way around it — alcohol threatens our health. According to the WHO, no amount is truly safe, and that includes beer. Over time, booze can cause liver problems, strain our heart, and even damage our brain. And not to mention the myriad other problems that come with excessive drinking, such as sleep difficulties, accelerated aging, and a weaker immune system that makes us that much more likely to walk out of the bar on an August Friday and wake up on Saturday with a nasty cold.
  • Beer in particular comes with unpleasant side effects. For one thing, there’s the infamous beer belly — abdominal fat that predisposes us to cardiovascular problems. Moreover, beer does a number on our cholesterol levels and upsets our electrolyte balance through dehydration. Besides, the high carb content and loads of empty calories (around 150 per serving, which can quickly add up) wreak havoc on our diet. (To find out more, check out “What Happens If You Drink 6 Beers a Day?” and “What Is Beer Potomania? The Symptoms and Causes.”)
  • Alcohol doesn’t fuel authentic interactions. While booze might make us feel talkative and social, it’s largely an illusion. By inhibiting the prefrontal cortex, it simply lowers our inhibitions, making us more likely to chat up strangers (but also go home with them against our better judgment). They don’t call it “beer goggles” for nothing. 
  • Booze can leave us feeling anxious and depressed. While alcohol initially lifts our spirits by causing a surge of dopamine, what goes up must come down. The celebratory mood can easily give way to mood swings, sadness, and morning-after anxiety (known as hangxiety). 
  • Binge drinking is dangerous. Seeing International Beer Day as an excuse to binge can land us in dangerous waters. Binge drinking, defined as four or more drinks (for women) or five or more (for men) in one sitting can lead to blackouts and alcohol poisoning.

Before all of the negatives that come with drinking get us out of the celebratory mood altogether, let’s consider the positives that are waiting for us when we quit or cut back. The human body is amazing, beginning to repair itself as soon as we put down that glass (or mug). 

Within days, we’re likely to notice better sleep patterns, a more uplifted mood, and clearer skin (yay!). We might lose a few pounds (those beers really do add up), our cholesterol levels will start to normalize, and our liver? Well, it will be having a celebration of its own, along with our heart and brain. (To whet your appetite more, check out “10 Benefits of an Alcohol-Free Lifestyle,” “The Benefits of Quitting or Cutting Back on Alcohol,” and “7 Benefits of Long-Term Alcohol Abstinence.”)

How to Celebrate in Healthier Ways

Resetting the Beer Clock

Let’s think back to the beer countdown clock. What if we reset it to count alcohol-free days instead, while drawing on the true meaning behind the International Beer Day mission statement to celebrate in healthier ways? Here are some ideas:

  • Start new traditions. One thing that Avshalomov and his friends got right? Creating new traditions is exciting. Sure, there are lots of holidays out there to celebrate, but there’s always room for more! Why not jump on the bandwagon and create something new? For example, get together with friends and try some of the Reframe monthly challenges, which are full of fun activities organized around a theme (such as “Outdoorsy June” or “Give Back February”).
  • Focus on friendships. International Beer Day is all about friendships, and that’s great! But building and maintaining friendships doesn’t have to wait until August. Try setting aside some time every week to call or hang out with at least five people (including someone you might have fallen out of touch with). A simple phone call out of the blue (or even a funny text) is all it takes. Soon enough, your life will feel more vibrant and your spirit will be rejuvenated (no beer needed!).
  • Show gratitude. As Avshalomov told The Independent, one of the running themes of International Beer Day is thanking those who make it possible: “So write a note, leave a tip, make a call, or just say thanks, but make sure your brewers and bartenders know that you love them.” Showing gratitude, in turn, is great advice — but let’s take it beyond the bar! Use this day (or better yet, every first Friday of the month) as a reminder to say a simple “thanks” to anyone in your life you appreciate. The doorman in your building, your grandmother, that friend who sent you a birthday gift — they’ll be happy to hear from you, and it might make their day.
  • Make worldly connections. Another key point behind Avshalomov’s efforts is the focus on building and supporting connections with others around the world. At Reframe, we’re all about that! Why not check out our 24/7 Forum to get to know some of the many global users who’ve been in your shoes when it comes to alcohol and are now thriving? 
  • Try beer-themed mocktails. If you do want to join in on International Beer Day festivities, why not do it with mocktails instead? August is the perfect time to find your new favorite refreshing beverage. For example, try a berry cooler by mixing non-alcoholic pale ale, mixed berry syrup, and club soda in a glass filled with ice. Stir, garnish with fresh berries, and enjoy the refreshment without the hangover! (For more mocktail tips, check out the “Guide to the Best Healthy Mocktails.”)

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to brewing up a healthy and authentic celebration. Have fun!

Putting Beer in the Background

By leaving alcohol in the background and focusing on the heart of the celebration, our own heart benefits as a result (and so does our liver, brain, kidneys, lungs, and pretty much everything else). Your immune system will grow stronger, your chances of developing chronic diseases will decline, and your memory will be sharper than ever. And if that’s not something to celebrate, we don’t know what is!

And remember, no matter what happened in the past or what we’re going through at the moment, there’s always a reason to take a moment and honor the past, as well as how far you’ve come and where you are right now — even in the difficult times. In the words of Anthony Burgess, “It's always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you're going.”

Summary FAQs

1. What is International Beer Day?

International Beer Day, started in 2007 by Jesse Avshalomov in Santa Cruz, California, is a global celebration that takes place on the first Friday of August each year. It's a day to appreciate beer and honor those who brew and serve it, while also encouraging the enjoyment of beer from various cultures around the world.

2. When is International Beer Day celebrated?

International Beer Day is celebrated on the first Friday of August every year. For example, in 2024, it falls on August 2nd. The date was chosen to ensure it aligns with a weekend day, maximizing the celebratory spirit.

3. Why was International Beer Day created?

The day was created to celebrate the craft of brewing, to show appreciation for those involved in the making of beer, and to unite the world by enjoying beers from different cultures together. It's a day for beer lovers to raise a toast to the brewers and bartenders, and enjoy the company of friends.

4. How has International Beer Day evolved over the years?

Initially celebrated on a specific date (August 5th), it was later moved to the first Friday of August to better accommodate celebrations. It has grown from a small local event in a bar in California to an international event celebrated across six continents and in over 200 cities worldwide.

5. What are some ways to celebrate International Beer Day?

People celebrate by gathering with friends, enjoying their favorite beers, trying new ones from around the world, and visiting local breweries or bars. Many also take the opportunity to thank their favorite brewers and bartenders personally.

6. Can International Beer Day be celebrated without drinking alcohol?

Absolutely! You can enjoy the social and cultural aspects of the day without consuming alcohol. Many choose to consume beer-themed mocktails or non-alcoholic beers to partake in the festivities in a healthy way.

Drink Less With Reframe!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

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The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app today!

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