Why People Used to Drink Beer Over Water

By James Madeiros


Hydrating With Alcohol?

A lot of people like to drink alcohol, but it’s hard to imagine a time when people chose to drink alcohol over water. Throughout history, a strange blend of cultural influence and survival has resulted in this kind of reckless behavior, although perhaps with good reason.

Much like the creation of fire probably wowed the caveman who managed it, the creation of alcohol sent shockwaves through human culture of the time. Historians place this during the Neolithic period (10,000 BC), officially making booze a thing of the Stone Age. Needless to say, it was a time for celebration.

Celebration, though, quickly turned to worship. What may be unsurprising to imbibers is that alcohol inspired religious fervor, and myths surrounding many gods took shape around what came to be known as “spirits.” Dionysus, Bacchus and Osiris are just a few gods who charged their worshippers to drink up, which inspired faithful consumption of alcohol. This in turn led to a tolerance for tolerance that became favored among a ruling class and further fueled the Big Party.

It wasn’t until the Middle Ages, though, that drinking became more than a way to get ahead in society or win favor with a particular deity in the afterlife. The simple fact was that the water was so bad throughout Europe at this time that people drank alcohol – specifically beer – to survive. The per capita amount of beer consumed in some areas was as high as 66 gallons a year.

To put that in terms we can all understand, that comes to about a pint and a half a day, every day of the year. Of course, we can assume that women and children of the time weren’t getting their fair share, so that would add up to quite a daily ration.

If, for no other reason, that should make a cool glass of water sound pretty fine indeed.

Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).

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