How 18 of the oldest companies on Earth have been making money for centuries, from guns to beer to shipping

Larger companies, like those listed on the S&P 500, tend to live about 15 years today. So there must be something special about the businesses that have persisted for 300, 500, or 1,300 years.

We looked into the data on the world’s oldest companies, and a few themes became clear: People have wanted to eat, drink, learn things, or perhaps kill each other once in a while for a long time. That’s why many of the businesses on this list are breweries, restaurants, or manufacturers. One of the longest-lasting, Beretta, is a gun manufacturer.

Here’s a list of companies far older than most nations, including the United States.