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How Long Has Alcohol Been Around?

delictika's picture

Model of Ancient beer making processPeople might call me geeky but each time I see a bottle of wine or vodka I wonder, when was alcohol actually invented, who invented it, and how long has alcohol been around? Now, if you too have been intrigued by these questions before, but never really asked for the fear of being called weird, (because alcohol is to be enjoyed and not studied about!) then you have come to the right place. I have shared all my knowledge about the ancient history of alcohol over here, so read on and find out more.

No one really knows when exactly man discovered alcohol (crude alcohol occurs naturally and was discovered by man and not invented). However, most scientists  believe it might have been through a fortuitous accident, wherein a starchy or sugary material like fruit juice or bread got wet and began to ferment, resulting in an inebriating brew. This is believed to have occurred sometime before the stone age; in fact, according to a few historians man invented pots and pans because he needed containers to store alcohol!

Nevertheless, it was not until the late stone age or early Neolithic period that man started intentionally fermenting food ingredients to produce alcohol. "Hymn to Ninkasi,” a 4000 yrs old Sumerian hymn about beer making is one of the oldest known record of alcohol making. People from almost all ancient civilizations, from the Sumerians to the Chinese and the Indus Valley; produced and consumed alcohol in one form or the other.  Every ancient civilization believed that alcohol had divine powers that could help man to connect with God. Many ancient traditions involved drinking different forms of alcohol to enter a state of trance and get "enlightenment."

While the Sumerians are credited for inventing beer and winemaking was supposedly invented by the Egyptians, the first distilled alcoholic drinks were made only during the 1st AD by the Greek Alchemists in Alexandria. However, man's love for alcohol has made him continuously improvise the brewing techniques and you will find new types and classes of alcohol being invented even today. 

So this is how man discovered the crude naturally occurring alcohol and invented different techniques of alcohol making. By the way did you know that even animals in wild love alcohol, wild monkeys are known to eat naturally fermented berries and get intoxicated! Maybe thats the way man started consuming alcohol.

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How Long Has Alcohol Been Around?