No Merum: Wine in Ancient Rome

The works of Roman writers have provided insight into the role played by wine in Roman culture. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences on the viticulture of the Italian peninsula can be traced to ancient Greeks and the Etruscans. The rise of the Roman Empire saw both technological advances in and burgeoning awareness[…]

Beginners Guide to Starting a Brewery Business in 2021

Developing a cohesive team is one of the secrets to brewery efficiency. The traditional brewery has grown into a highly competitive commercial business, and craft breweries’ reputations continue to grow as they draw more customers and visitors every year. With the craft beer industry booming, the time is right to launch your venture. However, how should you[…]

Medieval English Brews: Recipes for 13th and 14th Century Unhopped English Ales

Making ales using only medieval techniques and equipment. By Dr. Paul W. PlacewayAlumnus, Language Technologies InstituteCarnegie Mellon University Introduction In medieval England, ale was an alcoholic drink made from grain, water, and fermented with yeast. The difference between medieval ale and beer was that beer also used hops as an ingredient. Virtually everyone drank ale. It provided significant nutrition[…]

Women and the Beverage That Change the World

After the development of craft beer in the early 1980s, more women started to once again infiltrate the industry. Birth of the Fermented Beverage The earliest record of beer being produced comes from Mesopotamia around 5300 BCE, by accident, when a woman whom was later known as Ninkasi, the “goddess of beer” stumbled upon the[…]

The Icy Backstory to that ‘Clink Clink’ You Hear When Toasting in the New Year

The history of ice in drinks goes back to antiquity but only really got going when a Bostonian started exporting ice to colonial India. Introduction If ever there was a year to toast drawing to an end, it’s 2020. Over the festive period, people around the world will be raising a glass to better times[…]

Chocolate Wine: Indulgent Drinking at Christmas in Georgian England

The ability to access new luxury goods was a sign of status. There are many indulgent foods that are synonymous with Christmas today, but two of the key ones must surely be chocolate and alcohol.  True, the turkey and its trimmings are Christmas classics, but it’s those festive extras – the champagne at breakfast, and[…]

The Evolution of Beer Induced Fun

Many of us love a tipple. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and gives us a false sense of confidence. For social situations, these are great effects. However, alcohol hasn’t always been exclusively a vehicle for getting us trolleyed. It’s been important for our very survival as a species. Yet, people throughout history have certainly enjoyed, and[…]

American Cycles of Prohibition: Do They Have Roots in Ancient Drinking Norms?

Ancient amphorae / Southampton University, Creative Commons It has been proposed that different drinking norms developed in northern and southern Europe during antiquity and that these patterns are still found today in the cultures overlying these areas. By Dr. Ruth C. Engs Professor Emeriti in Applied Health Science Indiana University Bloomington Abstract It has been proposed that[…]

The Temperance Movement in America: Instigating a Ban on “Spirituous Liquors”

A lithograph, “The Drunkard’s Progress”, by Nathaniel Currier supporting the temperance movement, c.1846 / Wikimedia Commons What caused the temperance movement in the United States? By Dr. Jean Baker Professor of History Goucher College The causes of the temperance movement in the United States can be understood as emerging from religious, social, and economic circumstances. Distinct from 20th-century prohibitionists[…]

‘Let Us Adore and Drink!’: A Brief History of Wine and Religion

Caravaggio’s 1595 masterpiece Bacchus. Wikimedia Commons Wine, more than other beverage, is intimately connected to celebration and worship. By Dr. Robert Fuller / 12.23.2014 Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Bradley University In a letter to the Abbe Morellet in 1779, Benjamin Franklin mused that the strategic location of the elbow is proof that God desires us[…]

Prehistoric Wine Discovered in Inaccessible Caves Forces a Rethink of Ancient Sicilian Culture

Deep inside Monte Kronio, hot, humid and sulfurous caves held an ancient secret. Giuseppe Savino, La Venta Esplorazioni Geografiche By Dr. Davide Tanasi / 02.14.2018 Assistant Professor of History Center for Visualization and Applied Spatial Techniques (CVAST) University of South Florda Monte Kronio rises 1,300 feet above the geothermally active landscape of southwestern Sicily. Hidden in[…]

Craft Beer is Becoming the Wine of New England by Redefining ‘Terroir’

Pouring Saison, a classic Belgian farmhouse-style ale, at Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine. Allagash Brewing, CC BY    By Dr. Daina Cheyenne Harvey (left) and Dr. Ellis Jones (right) / 01.12.2018 Harvey: Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Jones: Assistant Professor of Sociology College of the Holy Cross The U.S. craft beer industry is exploding. Although two[…]

The History of Alcohol Temperance and Prohibition in America

By Dr. K. Austin Kerr Professor Emeritus of American History The Ohio State University Why Prohibition? Why did the United States have a prohibition movement, and enact prohibition? We offer some generalizations in answer to that question. Prohibition in the United States was a measure designed to reduce drinking by eliminating the businesses that manufactured,[…]

Mistletoe and (a Large) Wine: Increasing Sizes of Wine Glasses over 300 Years

Enamelled Jacobite portrait glass. / Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Our Georgian and Victorian ancestors probably celebrated Christmas with more modest wine consumption than we do today – if the size of their wine glasses are anything to go by. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have found that the capacity of wine glasses has increased[…]

Coffee, Alcohol, and the History of Human Civilization

Making Irish coffee / Photo by Frettie, Wikimedia Commons The cavemen were drunk and revolutionaries were caffeinated. By Chelsea Follett / 03.01.2017 CATO Institute No two drugs have defined human civilization the way alcohol and caffeine have. Nature created both to kill creatures much smaller than us — plants evolved caffeine to poison insect predators, and yeasts[…]