If you find yourself on Mero St. in Frankfort, KY, head into Sig Luscher Brewery and have a cold one. Chance are you’ll make a new furry friend too. But this tabby cat can’t hang out too long. She’s got a job to do. One cats have been doing for centuries.
Dink hangs out in the taproom at Sig Luscher Brewery, “looking cute and sitting near you seemingly indifferent to whether or not you acknowledge her.”
While certainly a friend to humans, Sig says vermin beware. “To you, she is the friendly barroom kitty, but to any mice trying to make a meal out of my brewing grains, she is a persistent and deadly guard with many notches in her belt.”
And Dink is certainly not the first of her kind. Cats have been protecting breweries since the time we know as Ancient Egypt.
Guarding the Beer Grains, One of a Cat’s Most Important Historical Tasks
Sig offers great facts when he says, “The oldest beer recipe we have is from Ancient Egypt. We have proof that the workers who built the pyramids were paid in beer.”
We know that cats of old often settled in around grain stores as rodents loved to make a meal off stored food. And the cats enjoyed hunting and making a meal off the vermin. So, the circle of life’s natural play offered a benefit to ancient brewers.
And in this cat/brewer dynamic, we learn another probable reason felines were revered in Ancient Egypt (the cats still have not forgotten this, BTW). The pyramid workers probably hoisted a cup at the cats in thanks, because without them, the mice would eat all the beer makings. Cheers to our kitty comrades!
Witchy Women and their Cats
Sig also teaches us women and cats were the brewers of the 15th century and from this grew the image of witches over their cauldrons, stirring the brews while a cat looked on.
The day-to-day of brewery life saw cats working to rid the brewery of the rats and mice going after tasty grains, so when not hunting, they often lounged around and watched the women. “Since hops were not yet the preferred bittering agent for beer, they also kept a myriad of herbs and spices around.” Add the fact the beer was conjured up in big cauldrons and what image do we see emerging?
Oh my, women at work with herbs and cats, must be witchcraft. * insert eye-roll here*
And the tradition of cats in the brewery continues on today. Thanks to the craft beer boom, cats are finding employment opportunities all across the nation. Their pay? All the mice you can eat, and all the human attention you can handle. Sounds like a pretty good gig.