Alcohol Facts

An Alcohol History Timeline

alcohol timeline

A timeline of interesting moments in the history of Alcohol.

8000 B.C.
In persia and the Middle East, a fermented drink is produced from honey and wild yeasts.

6000 B.C.
Viticulture, the cultivation of grapevines for making wine, is believed to originate in the mountains between the black and Caspian seas.

4000 B.C.
Wine making is established in Mesopotamia (which is present day Iraq).

3000 B.C.
Both beer and wine are produced in ancient Egypt; wine production and trade become an important part of Mediterranean commerce.

800 B.C.
Barley and rice beer are produced in India.

Islamic Prophet Muhammad orders his followers to abstain from alcohol.

A medical school in Italy documents alcohol distillation. The product is named “spirits.”

Germany passes a beer purity law, making it illegal to make beer with anything but barley, hops and pure water.

During the reign of James I in England, numerous writers describe widespread drunkenness from beer and wine.

The first American temperance society is formed in Litchfield, Connecticut, with the goal of reducing alcohol consumption. Similar societies soon follow in other states.

The act of 1791 (popularly called the “Whiskey Tax”) enacts a tax on both publicly and privately distilled whiskey in the United States.

During the whiskey rebellion of Pennsylvania, government troops arrest a handful of distillery leaders who refused to pay taxes on their products.

The Whiskey tax is repealed.

A new alcohol tax is temporarily imposed in the united States to help pay for the War of 1812.

New York Bartenders invent the cocktail.

In the United States 1,138 legal alcohol distilleries are operating and producing 88 million gallons of liquor per year.

Abraham Lincoln imposes a new tax on liquor to help pay the bills from the Civil War.

Laws are enacted to make anti alcohol teaching compulsory in public schools in New York State. The following year similar laws are passed in Pennsylvania, with other states soon following.

The Pure Food and Drug Act is passed, regulating the labeling of products containing alcohol.

New York introduces the first drunk-driving laws.

The passage of the 18th Amendment (prohibition) and the Volstead Act effectively outlaw the production, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States. (Alcohol was also illegal in Finland from 1919 to 1932 and in various Canadian provinces at various times between 1900 and 1948.)

The illicit alcohol trade booms in the United States.

Prohibition is repealed; most states restrict youth under 18 (the minimum voting age) from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages.

Alcoholics Anonymous is established; the American Medical Association passes a resolution declaring that alcoholics are valid patients.

The U.S. Public Health Service labels alcoholism the fourth-largest health problem.

The Grand Rapids study shows that the risk of an automobile crash increases as more alcohol is consumed.

The minimum drinking age is lowered in 29 states from 21 to 18, 19 or 20 following the enactment of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which lowers the legal voting age to 18.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is established with the goal of reducing alcohol-related highway fatalities.

A new federal law requires states to pass legislation making it a crime to drive with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08 percent.

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