Unlike wine, beer does not improve with age and it is typically consumed immediately. We would, therefore, expect beer to appear less frequently than wine on ancient economic documents, because, as a general rule, people traded wine and grain as opposed to beer and grapes (e.g. Homer, Odyssey, 2.3 79-80). For the same reason, jars with seal inscriptions labeling wine far outnumber those of beer. Beer was rarely stored for more than a few weeks, and the entire process of brewing could be achieved with a single jar. Therefore, beer is more difficult to detect chemically in pottery residues. as opposed to wine, which would often be stored for years in the same vessel. Additionally, calcium oxalate (aka. beerstone), a chemical compound that identifies beer. is more difficult to detect than tartaric acid, a chemical residue from grapes. Thus. it is in the literature. rather than in the archaeology and economic records of the ancient Near East, that beer leaves its greatest mark. The manufacture and consumption of beer occasionally leave traces in the material record, however. even though they are certainly less in number than artifacts associated with wine production.
Michael M. Homan, “Beer and Its Drinkers: An Ancient Near Eastern Love Story”, Near Eastern Archaeology vol. 67, no. 2 (2004), 86.