Wine Culture in the Ancient Hellenistic Mediterranean

Viticulture, that is, the cultivation of grapes and the preparation of wine, can actually be traced back long before the Hellenistic Age. Introduction The culture of drinking wine was enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean world, and what is true now was true in antiquity, too: wine is always good business. The Hellenistic Period (c. 335-30 BCE),[…]

Anthesteria: A 3-Day Festival of Wine in Ancient Greece

The ancient Greek holiday of Anthesteria honored springtime and death. Introduction This ancient Greek holiday that you’ve probably never heard of was a three-day festival in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine. Everyone participated, including women, children, hired servants, and household slaves, and it featured excessive wine-drinking as part of the celebration of two[…]

How Prohibition Changed the Way Americans Drink – 100 Years Ago

The era of Prohibition, which began in 1920 and ended in 1933, left many legacies – more modest drinking was not among them. Introduction On Jan. 17, 1920, one hundred years ago, America officially went dry. Prohibition, embodied in the U.S Constitution’s 18th amendment, banned the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol. Yet it remained[…]

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder and What Is the Treatment?

Alcohol use disorder is also known as alcoholism. This is a condition where an individual has a physical need or a desire to drink alcohol even when its negative effects on their life are apparent. People with alcohol use disorders were called alcoholics in the past. But, this is now considered a negative and unhelpful[…]

Beer Archaeologists Are Reviving Ancient Ales — With Some Strange Results

The trouble with re-creating ancient brews is that it’s actually an impossible task. By Rae Ellen Bichell The closest that Travis Rupp came to getting fired from Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colo., he says, was the time he tried to make chicha. The recipe for the Peruvian corn-based beer, cobbled together from bits of[…]

Flappers, G-Men, and Prohibition’s Legacies

Prohibition evokes vivid images from fiction and history. Introduction Prohibition evokes vivid images from fiction and history: wild parties from The Great Gatsby, the Valentine’s Day gangland murders in Chicago, or presidential candidate Herbert Hoover’s 1928 comment, when he called Prohibition a “great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far reaching in purpose.” That[…]

Before Prohibition, Breweries Made Advertising an Art

From PBR to the champagne of beers, Wisconsin brands made their mark. On a dark night in rural Wisconsin, Miller marketing guru A. C. Paul gets lost in the Northwoods. No doubt having sampled his own wares, he staggers through the wilderness, trying in vain to find his way out. Then a beautiful woman appears[…]

Being and Drunkenness: How to Party Like an Existentialist

Sartre loved the imaginative playfulness that alcohol facilitated. Existentialism has a reputation for being angst-ridden and gloomy mostly because of its emphasis on pondering the meaninglessness of existence, but two of the best-known existentialists knew how to have fun in the face of absurdity. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre spent a lot of time[…]

Rum, Hookers, and Smuggling: The Secret Story of Coolidge’s Visit to Cuba

By Christopher Woolf In 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. Coolidge was known as Silent Cal, a dour New Englander; an old fashioned puritan and a dedicated enforcer of Prohibition. So what was he doing in fun-filled Havana? He had a two-fold mission: to[…]

Drinking in Ancient Greece

Archaic and classical Greek culture was steeped in spirit. Archaic and classical Greek culture was steeped in spirit. Drinking parties for the elite were a ritual that eventually filtered down to the man in the street. What went on at these gatherings and how were inebriation and public displays of drunkenness justified in cultural terms?[…]

Drinking Habits in Ancient India

Consumption of one or other form of intoxicating substances has been present throughout the history of the world. By Dr. Ottilingam Somasundaram, Dr. D. Vijaya Raghavan, and Dr. A.G. Tejus MurthyDepartment of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College, Institute of Mental Health, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India Abstract Consumption of one or other form of intoxicating substances has[…]

Medieval Mystic Margery Kempe and the Economics of Beer Brewing

This 15th-century mystic turned her hand to brewing the bubbly, and she wasn’t very successful. By Karl HagenIndependent Educational Consultant Near the beginning of her autobiography, the fifteenth-century mystic Margery Kempe relates her ill-fated attempts to make her worldly fortune. Among her mercantile ventures, she turned her hand to brewing: And than, for pure coveytyse[…]

Beer Brewing, Industrialization, and London Water Supplies Since the 16th Century

London was already a major beer producer in the sixteenth century. London was already a major beer producer in the sixteenth century. However, beginning in the eighteenth century, urbanization and industrialization meant a sharp increase in scale for brewers. Because brewers required large quantities of sweet water for manufacturing their product, this also resulted in[…]

“Come hear this ditty”: 17th-Century Drinking Songs and the Challenges of Hearing the Past

Alcohol played a central role in early modern life, occupying much of the time of both law enforcement officers and guzzling “cupp companions.” In April, 1612, the constables of Calne, Wiltshire, made a desperate plea to their superiors—the county magistrates—to help them reverse a surge in the number of alehouses in their town. Their complaint[…]