What do the American Homebrewers Association and a turkey have in common?

By Duncan Bryant, American Homebrewers Association

When the American Homebrewers Association came to be in 1978, the inaugural logo featured a jovial turkey clutching a beer bottle and bushel of barley.

But why the turkey?

AHA founders Charlie Papazian and Charlie Matzen knew they wanted a visual that would pay homage to America’s homebrewing roots while staying true to their mantra of keeping homebrewing fun.

Enter the turkey.

As the story goes, the bald eagle was looking to be the likely candidate to adorn the emblem of the United States of America, but Benjamin Franklin had a different feathered creature in mind. Franklin’s commentary evolved into what some say was a tongue-in-cheek, but not totally ridiculous, case for the turkey’s better representing the United States than the bald eagle. (Editor’s note: this story is very contested, but was the popularly believed story back when the AHA started).

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“For in truth the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original Native of America,” said Franklin after pointing out the eagle’s frequent thievery of its neighbors’ hard-earned food and vulnerability to bullying at the hands (wings?) of much smaller birds. “[The turkey] is besides, tho’ a little vain and silly, a bird of courage…”

It’s now been some years since we’ve used the classic AHA turkey logo, but it will forever signify the courage of the AHA’s founders to share the American pastime of homebrewing while keeping things fun and carefree. After all, isn’t that what homebrewing is all about?

Get your very own AHA Turkey T-shirt in our online store!

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