As part of a three-year initiative, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has hired Theresa McCulla to oversee its American Brewing History project. A social and cultural historian of food, she’ll use her knowledge to design a research plan using material and archival sources, conduct oral histories, and publish articles for both scholarly and popular audiences with a primary focus on homebrewing and the craft brewing industry.

“Brewing history connects us to stories of tradition and innovation, agriculture and industry, and other broad strands of the American experience,” said Paula Johnson, Smithsonian food history curator, in a prepared statement. “Theresa will focus on brewing in the 20th and 21st centuries, including the history of consolidation and the tremendous rise in home and craft brewing since the 1970s.”

The American Brewing History initiative is made possible through a donation from the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based nonprofit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers.