Alcohol is a beverage which is common across many cultures and geographical locations. From beer to wines and spirits, alcohol has been in consumption for a long time. Consumption of alcohol occurs majorly in social settings like pubs, clubs, and parties but it also does take place in the privacy of one’s home.
How is alcohol made?
The process of making alcoholic beverages is different for each of the three main types of alcohol, that is beer, wine, and spirits. To start with beer, it is made from grains, malt, hops, yeast, and water. Sugar is extracted from the grains and then yeast is used to ferment the sugar into beer. Wine on its part is made from fruits, mainly grapes. The grapes are fermented over a period of time to produce wine. Spirits on the other hand are made through a process of distillation. Ethanol is produced through a fermentation process and then the ethanol is distilled into spirits.
History of alcohol
Here is the history of the various types of alcoholic beverages:
History of beer
The production of beer started way back in the fifth millenium BC. It is believed that the production of beer mainly started after man had domesticated cereals. The earliest evidence of beer production is a 2000 BC Hammurabi Code which spelt out standards for beer production and consumption. The people of Mesopotamia were fermenting bread to make a pulp which had intoxicating properties.
Still in regard to Mesopotamia, a 6000-year-old Sumerian tablet which depicts people drinking beer from a bowl using reed straws exists. There is also a 3900-year-old Sumerian poem which honors Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing.
In modern day Iran, chemical tests on ancient pottery reveal that production of beer was taking place from as early as 7000 years ago. The earliest chemically confirmed barley beer to date was discovered at Godin Tepe in the central Zagros Mountains of Iran, where fragments of a jug, at least 5,000 years old was found to be coated with beerstone, a by-product of the brewing process.
In Syria, Ebla tablets were discovered in 1974 and they showed that beer was being produced in Ebla city from as far as 2500 BC. Beer production also occurred in ancient day Babylon, Egypt and Rome. The Babylonians had upto 20 types of beer by 3000 BC. Beer and malt which have been found buried at the tombs of pharaohs show that the Egyptians were brewing beer by 1550 BC. The Romans were also drinking beer by 100 AD.
Beer production in Europe dates back to 5000 years ago. Beer was then only produced for domestic consumption but after the onset of the Industrial Revolution, commercial production was adopted. Hydrometers and thermometers were introduced by the end of the 19th century and these enabled monitoring during the stages of brewing. Brewing has continued upto today and in today’s world, brewery is a global industry.
History of wines and spirits
The earliest evidence of wine making ranges between 7000 and 5000 BC. Seeds of cultivated vines were found in the Caucaucus mountain ranges of the present day Georgia. From Georgia, wine making spread to other areas like the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and the Mediterranean region. Wine sophistication was evident as some societies like the Egyptians and the Romans had different grades of wine.
Around 800 BC, distilled beverages were being made in Asia. Brandy was also made in Italy in the 1000s. Grape Brandy was made in Italy and it’s probably the earliest ever Western beverage. Russians also made Vodka in 1400s.