17
Jan
10

Did a thirst for alcohol spark civilization?

Well it makes sense – if you needed to eat or feed a family, there was plenty around to be gathered – but it seems like every culture had some kind of alcoholic beverage, and for that you really needed agriculture to get a reliable supply of good-quality alcohol.

Did a thirst for beer spark civilization? – Features, Archaeology – The Independent

“A main motivation for settling down and domesticating crops was probably to make an alcoholic beverage of some kind,” McGovern concluded. “People wanted to be closer to their plants so this leads to settlement.”

If this were true, the first farmers would have in fact been real ale brewers. Moreover, alcohol, which is often used to break down barriers between people, would have acted much in the same way it did thousands of years ago.

“Whenever we look at the Neolithic beverages and the domestication of these plants, we find that it was more of an egalitarian effort, with people working together,” McGovern said.

Now my bet would be wine before beer – it would have been easier to find already fermenting fruit and make the connection that they could plant more to make more. But either way, I’m certainly glad they did!

Besides, when in a discussion with a winemaker who it completely pompous (more and more rare each year I think) it’s always funny to think, “Dude, get over yourself – guys with no training were doing this 8-9,000 years ago in little clay pots with no training”. I find it provides some nice balance – which is always important when dealing with wine.

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