The History of Alcohol in America
Making, distribution and drinking of alcohol produced from grapes dates back over ten thousand years ago. Early pictographs and engravings on clay tablets and walls show the making of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol was described to make drinkers feel blissful and exhilarated.
Fermented beverages existed during early Egyptian civilization. In Greece, mead gained popularity as one of the first alcoholic drinks to be made. The alcoholic drink was made from fermented honey and water.
Several Native American civilizations made alcohol in Pre-Colombian times. The activities of alcohol making began long before the introduction of apples to America from Europe. Alcohol was widely used for the purposes of health and socialization during the colonial history of America.
In the sixteenth century, the beverage was used medically for its various health benefits. However, at a later date, alcohol began to lose its reputation as a drink that had medicinal purposes.
In the 1790s, Congress imposed an exercise tax on farmers who manufactured alcohol. However, they resisted paying the fee. This led to the Whiskey Rebellion. The rebellion was a protest movement of farmers who felt that the fee was a burden to their commercial activities.
In the early eighteenth century, the British parliament passed a law which encouraged the use of grain for distilling spirits. The practice led to an increase in alcohol production. By the mid-eighteenth century, the production of alcohol was at its peak with its consumption becoming widespread.
In 1920, the United States passed a law which prohibited the import, sale and manufacture of intoxicating liquors. However, the illegal alcohol trade was at its peak and by 1933 the law was cancelled.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages continued without many controversies until after the Revolutionary War when distilled spirits and whiskey became major commercial products. The history of alcohol in America parallels the social and economic trends that shaped the country.