Beer Flood Deaths

Did nine people die in a beer flood in 1814?

Claim:   Nine people died in a beer flood in 1814.

Status:   True.

Origins:   The ongoing spate of Internet

Deadly brew

reports of unusual deaths, both real and fictional, might lead some to believe extraordinary modes of demise are a recent phenomenon. Nothing could be further from the truth — the Grim Reaper has always found incredible methods of ending human life.

One such instance took place in 1814 in London. On October 17 of that year, a rupture in a brewery tank containing 3,500 barrels of beer caused a flood of fatal proportions in the London parish of St. Giles. The wave of beer swept victims off their feet, dashed them against walls, and buried them under debris. Two houses were demolished in the sea of beer suddenly loosed upon town, and nine people lost their lives in the flood of suds.

America endured a comparable disaster in January 1919 when a rupture in a molasses tank unleashed a flood of goo that killed twenty-one Bostonians.

Barbara “t’aint Whiskey River you need fear” Mikkelson

Last updated:   18 January 2007


  Sources Sources:

    Long, Kim and Terry Reim.   Fatal Facts.

    New York: Arlington House, 1985.   ISBN 0-517-63216-0   (p. 204).

    Wallace, Irving and David Wallechinsky.   Significa.

    New York: E.P. Dutton, Inc., 1983  (p. 238).
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes