As we continue to learn about beverages, we often wonder how we came to this point and the history behind all of it.
Below are some fun facts and history tid bits that we have gathered about the origin, the history of beverages.
Beverages date back to Archaeological Times:
Chemical analysis of traces absorbed and preserved of ancient pottery jars from the neolithic village of Jiahu in the Henan province of northern China revealed residue left behind by the alcoholic beverages they had once contained. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, chemical analysis of the residue confirmed that a fermented drink made of grape and hawthorn fruit wine, honey mead and rice beer was being produced in 7000–5600 BC (McGovern et al., 2005; McGovern 2009). The results of this analysis were published in December 2004. This is approximately the time when barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East.
The non-alcoholic beverage industry plays an important role in the U.S. economy. Our industry has a direct economic impact of $141.22 billion, provides more than 233,000 jobs and helps to support hundreds of thousands more that depend, in part, on beverage sales for their livelihoods. Beverage companies and their employees, and the firms and employees indirectly employed by the industry, provide significant tax revenues - more than $14 billion at the state level and $22.7 billion at the federal level - and contribute more than $765 million to charitable causes in communities across the nation.
Ancient brew & recipe ingredient too.
"No one has yet managed to date the origins of beer with any precision, and it is probably an impossible task. Indeed, there are scholars who have theorized that a taste for ale prompted the beginning of agriculture, in which case humans have been brewing for some 10,000 years...Most archaeological evidence, however, suggests that fermentation was being used in one manner or another by around 4000 to 3500 B.C. Some of this evidence--from an ancient Mesopotamian trading outpost called Godin Tepe in present-day Iran--indicates that barley was being fermented at that location around 3500 B.C....We know that not much later the Sumerians were...making beer...At approximately the same time, people of the ancient Nubian culture to the south of Egypt were also fermenting a crude, ale-like beverage known as bousa."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple & Conee R. Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000, Volume One (p. 620)
"The earliest archaeological evidence indicating wine that might have been made from domesticated vines comes from a pottery jar, dated between 7400 and 7000 years ago, which was found at the Neolithic site of Hajji Firuz in the northern Zagros Mountains."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple & Conee R. Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000, Volume One (p. 730)
Through both of these introductions, one of the oldest and which could be the oldest form of alcoholic beverage, there is mead. Mead could be deemed the first true Wine due to it's natural ingredients.
Mead was arguably the worlds first naturally occurring alcoholic beverage. The theory goes --- a bee hive containing honey was located inside or very close to the trunk of a tree. When it rained the honey became diluted and ran down into a small area where it could be stagnant for a period of time. As it sat, natural wild yeast fell on this sugary mix and began to do it's job and in a matter of days alcohol/mead was produced. As hunters and gatherers would pass by they would feast on what they thought was just water and be pleasantly surprised at the amount of laughter that quickly ensued (welcome to the first mead party).
Because of agriculture, it was easier to consistently grow grapes and grains thus making beer and wine more feasible to produce. Naturally, grains have more nutrients then grapes and honey, so it was easier and faster to naturally ferment. There fore we have thousands of years of fermentation science behind wine and beer.
It wasn’t until the 1950′s that the commercialization of honey production allowed the economical feasibility to produce mead on a commercial level. Thus, there is only 50-60 years of fermentation science behind mead.
Now, with the expansion of home brewers, growth in the wine, beer and cider markets, a.k.a the craft market, mead is coming back. Mead is the next trend in the craft market.
As we move forward, we want you to learn and cherish the past, but also enjoy with us what the future can bring here at Liquid Alchemy Beverages.