when it all started

The History of Alcohol

Nobody knows exactly when humans began to create fermented beverages. The earliest known evidence comes from 7,000 BCE in China, where residue in clay pots has revealed that people were making an alcoholic beverage from fermented rice, millet, grapes, and honey. Chemical analyses recently confirmed that the earliest alcoholic beverage in the world was a mixed fermented drink of rice, honey, and hawthorn fruit and/or grape.

The residues of the beverage, dated CA. 7000–6600 BCE, were recovered from early pottery from Jiahu, a Neolithic village in the Yellow River Valley. Again, scientists suspect the pen-tailed tree shrew is very close to our early primate ancestors. This suggests that our ability to enjoy alcohols intoxicating effects came after our desire to seek out and consume it. We started our relationship with alcohol because it made us less likely to starve to death.


Mahua is a traditional Indian drink that is often dubbed as country liquor. It is produced from the flowers of Madhuca longifolia, which is better known as Mahua. The drink originated among the Adivasi  – different ethnic groups who are considered native to the Indian subcontinent.

Scotch whiskey

Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories: single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky (formerly called “vatted malt” or “pure malt”), blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky.

All Scotch whisky was originally made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century. As of 2022, there were 141 whisky distilleries operating in Scotland. All Scotch whisky must be aged immediately after distillation in oak barrels for at least three years. Any age statement on a bottle of Scotch whisky, expressed in numerical form, must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to create that product. A whisky with an age statement is known as guaranteed-age whisky. A whisky without an age statement is known as a no age statement (NAS) whisky, the only guarantee being that all whisky contained in that bottle is at least three years old. The minimum bottling strength according to existing regulations is 40% alcohol by volume. The earliest remnants of wine as we know now was discovered.

The oldest fossil proto-wines without grapes were found in China, in 7000 BC, and also evidence of ancient wine production found in Georgia and Armenia in both of two countries from c. 6000 BC (the earliest known traces of grape wine), West Azerbaijan province of Iran from c. 5000 BC, Armenia from  c. 4100 BC (large-scale production), and Sicily from c. 4000 BC.

The earliest evidence of a grape and rice mixed based fermented drink sometimes compared to wine was found in ancient China (c. 7000 BC). Wine production and consumption increased, burgeoning from the 15th century onward as part of European expansion. Despite the devastating 1887 phylloxera louse infestation, modern science and technology adapted and industrial wine production and wine consumption now occur throughout the world.

Sour Mash

Sour mash refers to the grouping of grains used in the fermentation process. Typically, distilleries will use a one-to-three or one-to-four ratio with their sour mash. This means that for every sour mash bourbon batch, one-third or one-quarter of the mash is made up of an old batch, and the rest is new.

irish whiskey

Irish whiskey (Irish: Fuisce or uiscebeatha) is whiskey made on the island of Ireland. The word ‘whiskey’ (or whisky) comes from the Irish uiscebeatha, meaning water of life. Irish whiskey was once the most popular spirit in the world, though a long period of decline from the late 19thcentury onward greatly damaged the industry, so much so that although Ireland boasted at least28 distilleries in the 1890s, by 1966 this number had fallen to just two, and by 1972 the remaining distilleries, Bush mills Distillery and Old Midleton Distillery (replaced by New Midleton Distillery), were owned by just one company, Irish Distillers.

India and Scotland are very different in climate. Indeed, single malt in India matures much faster,and it is for this reason that we see no age statements; most expressions are only a few years old. But this is not to the whisky’s detriment. The spirit loses as much as 12% abv per year due to the warmer climes, as opposed the 2% that the angel’s take each year in Scotland. As with all single malt whisky, Indian single malt must be matured for a minimum of three years and a day in oak casks, and it is the product of a single distillery, distilled from nothing other than water, yeast and malted barley. Indian single malt whiskies are known for their fruity, malty character


Beer is one of the oldest drinks humans have produced. The first chemically confirmed barley beer dates back to the 5th millennium BC in modern-day Iran, and was recorded in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and spread throughout the world.

As almost any cereal containing certain sugars can undergo spontaneous fermentation due to wild yeasts in the air, it is possible that beer-like drinks were independently developed throughout the world soon after a tribe or culture had domesticated cereal. Chemical tests of ancient pottery jars reveal that beer was produced as far back as about 7,000 years ago in what is today Iran. This discovery reveals one of the earliest known uses of fermentation and is the earliest evidence of brewing to date.

In Mesopotamia, the oldest evidence of beer is believed to be a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet depicting people consuming a drink through reed straws from a communal bowl. A 3,900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, contains the oldest surviving beer recipe, describing the production of beer from bread made from barley.

In China, residue on pottery dating from around 5,000 years ago shows beer was brewed using barley and other grains.

Today, the brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brew pubs to regional breweries. More than 133 billion liters (35 billion gallons) are sold per year – producing total global revenues of $294.5 billion (£147.7 billion).