Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Alcoholic beverage

Alcoholic beverage

Overview
An alcoholic beverage is a drink
Drink
A drink, or beverage, is a liquid which is specifically prepared for human consumption. In addition to fulfilling a basic human need, beverages form part of the culture of human society.-Water:...

 containing ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

s, wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

s, and spirits
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption. In particular, such laws specify the minimum age at which a person may legally buy or drink them. This minimum age varies between 16 and 25 years, depending upon the country and the type of drink.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Alcoholic beverage'
Start a new discussion about 'Alcoholic beverage'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
An alcoholic beverage is a drink
Drink
A drink, or beverage, is a liquid which is specifically prepared for human consumption. In addition to fulfilling a basic human need, beverages form part of the culture of human society.-Water:...

 containing ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

s, wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

s, and spirits
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption. In particular, such laws specify the minimum age at which a person may legally buy or drink them. This minimum age varies between 16 and 25 years, depending upon the country and the type of drink. Most nations set it at 18 years of age.

The production and consumption of alcohol occurs in most cultures of the world, from hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 peoples to nation-state
Nation-state
The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity...

s. Alcoholic beverages are often an important part of social events in these cultures. In many cultures, drinking
Drinking culture
Drinking culture refers to the customs and practices associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Although alcoholic beverages and social attitudes toward drinking vary around the world, nearly every civilization has independently discovered the processes of brewing beer, fermenting...

 plays a significant role in social interaction — mainly because of alcohol’s neurological effects.

Alcohol is a psychoactive drug
Psychoactive drug
A psychoactive drug, psychopharmaceutical, or psychotropic is a chemical substance that crosses the blood–brain barrier and acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it affects brain function, resulting in changes in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior...

 that has a depressant
Depressant
A depressant, or central depressant, is a drug or endogenous compound that depresses the function or activity of a specific part of the brain...

 effect. A high blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content , also called blood alcohol concentration, blood ethanol concentration, or blood alcohol level is most commonly used as a metric of alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes....

 is usually considered to be legal drunkenness because it reduces attention
Attention
Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....

 and slows reaction speed. Alcohol can be addictive, and the state of addiction
Alcohol dependence
Alcohol dependence, as described in the DSM-IV, is a psychiatric diagnosis describing an entity in which an individual uses alcohol despite significant areas of dysfunction, evidence of physical dependence, and/or related hardship.-Definition and diagnosis:According to the DSM-IV criteria for...

 to alcohol is known as alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

.

Types




Alcoholic beverages that have a lower alcohol content (beer and wine) are produced by fermentation
Ethanol fermentation
Ethanol fermentation, also referred to as alcoholic fermentation, is a biological process in which sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose are converted into cellular energy and thereby produce ethanol and carbon dioxide as metabolic waste products...

 of sugar- or starch-containing plant material. Beverages of higher alcohol content (spirits)
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

 are produced by fermentation followed by distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

.

Beer


Beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 is the world's oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverage and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

. It is produced by the brewing
Brewing
Brewing is the production of beer through steeping a starch source in water and then fermenting with yeast. Brewing has taken place since around the 6th millennium BCE, and archeological evidence suggests that this technique was used in ancient Egypt...

 and fermentation
Ethanol fermentation
Ethanol fermentation, also referred to as alcoholic fermentation, is a biological process in which sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose are converted into cellular energy and thereby produce ethanol and carbon dioxide as metabolic waste products...

 of starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

es which are mainly derived from cereal grains
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

 — most commonly malt
Malt
Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as "malting". The grains are made to germinate by soaking in water, and are then halted from germinating further by drying with hot air...

ed barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 although wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 (corn
Corn
Corn is the name used in the United States, Canada, and Australia for the grain maize.In much of the English-speaking world, the term "corn" is a generic term for cereal crops, such as* Barley* Oats* Wheat* Rye- Places :...

), and rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 are also used.

Alcoholic beverages that are distilled
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

 after fermentation, are fermented from noncereal sources such as grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s or honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, or are fermented from unmalted cereal grain are not classified as beer.

The two main types of beer are lager
Lager
Lager is a type of beer made from malted barley that is brewed and stored at low temperatures. There are many types of lager; pale lager is the most widely-consumed and commercially available style of beer in the world; Pilsner, Bock, Dortmunder Export and Märzen are all styles of lager...

 and ale
Ale
Ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a warm fermentation with a strain of brewers' yeast. The yeast will ferment the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste...

. Ale is further classified into varieties such as pale ale
Pale ale
Pale ale is a beer which uses a warm fermentation and predominantly pale malt. It is one of the world's major beer styles.The higher proportion of pale malts results in a lighter colour. The term "pale ale" was being applied around 1703 for beers made from malts dried with coke, which resulted in a...

, stout
Stout
Stout is a dark beer made using roasted malt or barley, hops, water and yeast. Stouts were traditionally the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters, typically 7% or 8%, produced by a brewery....

, and brown ale
Brown ale
Brown ale is a style of beer with a dark amber or brown colour. The term was first used by London brewers in the late 17th century to describe their products, such as mild ale, though the term had a rather different meaning than it does today...

.

Most beer is flavored with hops
Hops
Hops are the female flower clusters , of a hop species, Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine...

, which add bitterness and act as a natural preservative
Preservative
A preservative is a naturally occurring or synthetically produced substance that is added to products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, paints, biological samples, wood, etc. to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes....

. Other flavorings, such as fruits or herbs, may also be used. The alcoholic strength of beer is usually 4% to 6% alcohol by volume (ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

), but it may be less than 2% or as much as 12%.

Beer is part of the drinking culture
Drinking culture
Drinking culture refers to the customs and practices associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Although alcoholic beverages and social attitudes toward drinking vary around the world, nearly every civilization has independently discovered the processes of brewing beer, fermenting...

 of various nations and has acquired social traditions such as beer festivals, pub games
Pub games
Pub games are games which are or were played in pubs, bars, inns, and taverns, particularly traditional games played in English pubs. Most are indoor games, though some are played outdoors Pub games are games which are or were played in pubs, bars, inns, and taverns, particularly traditional games...

, and pub crawl
Pub crawl
A pub crawl is the act of one or more people drinking in multiple pubs or bars in a single night, normally walking or busing to each one between drinking.-Origin of the term:...

ing.

The basics of brewing beer are shared across national and cultural boundaries. The beer-brewing industry is global in scope, consisting of several dominant multinational companies
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

 and thousands of smaller producers, which range from regional breweries to microbreweries
Microbrewery
A microbrewery or craft brewer is a brewery which produces a limited amount of beer, and is associated by consumers with innovation and uniqueness....

.

Wine


Wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 is produced from grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s, and fruit wine
Fruit wine
Fruit wines are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of base ingredients ; they may also have additional flavours taken from fruits, flowers, and herbs. This definition is sometimes broadened to include any fermented alcoholic beverage except beer...

 is produced from fruits such as plums, cherries, or apples. Wine involves a longer fermentation process than beer and also a long aging process
Aging of wine
The aging of wine, and its ability to potentially improve wine quality, distinguishes wine from most other consumable goods. While wine is perishable and capable of deteriorating, complex chemical reactions involving a wine's sugars, acids and phenolic compounds can alter the aroma, color,...

 (months or years), resulting in an alcohol content of 9%–16% ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

. Sparkling wine
Sparkling wine
Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it making it fizzy. The carbon dioxide may result from natural fermentation, either in a bottle, as with the méthode champenoise, in a large tank designed to withstand the pressures involved , or as a result of carbon dioxide...

 can be made by means of a secondary fermentation.

Fortified wine
Fortified wine
Fortified wine is wine to which a distilled beverage has been added. Fortified wine is distinguished from spirits made from wine in that spirits are produced by means of distillation, while fortified wine is simply wine that has had a spirit added to it...

 is wine (such as port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 or sherry
Sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez , Spain. In Spanish, it is called vino de Jerez....

), to which a distilled beverage (usually brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

) has been added.

Spirits


Unsweetened, distilled, alcoholic beverages that have an alcohol content of at least 20% ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

 are called spirits
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

. Spirits are produced by the distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

 of a fermented base product. Distilling concentrates
Concentration
In chemistry, concentration is defined as the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture. Four types can be distinguished: mass concentration, molar concentration, number concentration, and volume concentration...

 the alcohol and eliminates some of the congeners.

Spirits can be added to wines to create fortified wine
Fortified wine
Fortified wine is wine to which a distilled beverage has been added. Fortified wine is distinguished from spirits made from wine in that spirits are produced by means of distillation, while fortified wine is simply wine that has had a spirit added to it...

s
, such as port
Port wine
Port wine is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine, and comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties...

 and sherry
Sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez , Spain. In Spanish, it is called vino de Jerez....

.

Alcohol content of beverages


The concentration
Concentration
In chemistry, concentration is defined as the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture. Four types can be distinguished: mass concentration, molar concentration, number concentration, and volume concentration...

 of alcohol in a beverage is usually stated as the percentage of alcohol by volume
Alcohol by volume
Alcohol by volume is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage .The ABV standard is used worldwide....

 (ABV) or as proof.

In the United States, proof is twice the percentage of alcohol by volume at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (e.g. 80 proof = 40% ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

). Degrees proof were formerly used in the United Kingdom, where 100 degrees proof was equivalent to 57.1% ABV. Historically, this was the most dilute spirit that would sustain the combustion
Combustion
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...

 of gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

.

Ordinary distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

 cannot produce alcohol of more than 95.6% ABV (191.2 proof) because at that point alcohol is an azeotrope
Azeotrope
An azeotrope is a mixture of two or more liquids in such a ratio that its composition cannot be changed by simple distillation. This occurs because, when an azeotrope is boiled, the resulting vapor has the same ratio of constituents as the original mixture....

 with water. A spirit which contains a very high level of alcohol and does not contain any added flavoring is commonly called a neutral spirit
Neutral grain spirit
Neutral grain spirit is a clear, colorless, flammable liquid that has been distilled from a grain-based mash to a very high level of ethanol content...

. Generally, any distilled alcoholic beverage of 170 proof or higher is considered to be a neutral spirit.

Most yeast
Yeast
Yeasts are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described estimated to be only 1% of all fungal species. Most reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by an asymmetric division process called budding...

s cannot reproduce when the concentration of alcohol is higher than about 18%, so that is the practical limit for the strength of fermented beverages such as wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

, and sake. Strains of yeast have been developed that can reproduce in solutions of up to 25% ABV.

Standard drinks


A standard drink is a notional drink that contains a specified amount of pure alcohol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

. The standard drink is used in many countries to quantify alcohol intake. It is usually expressed as a measure of beer, wine, or spirits. One standard drink always contains the same amount of alcohol regardless of serving size or the type of alcoholic beverage.

The standard drink varies significantly from country to country. For example, it is 7.62 ml (6 grams) of alcohol in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, but in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 it is 25 ml (19.75 grams).

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, there is a system of units of alcohol which serves as a guideline for alcohol consumption. A single unit of alcohol is defined as 10 ml. The number of units present in a typical drink is printed on bottles. The system is intended as an aid to people who are regulating the amount of alcohol they drink; it is not used to determine serving sizes.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the standard drink contains 0.6 USoz of alcohol. This is approximately the amount of alcohol in a 12 USoz glass of beer, a 5 USoz glass of wine, or a 1.5 USoz glass of a 40% ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

 (80 proof) spirit.

Serving sizes


In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, serving size in licensed premises
Licensing laws of the United Kingdom
Licensing laws of the United Kingdom regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol, with separate legislation for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland being passed, as necessary, by the UK parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the Scottish Parliament respectively.Throughout the...

 is regulated under the Weights and Measures Act (1985)
Weights and Measures Act
A Weights and Measures Act is an Act of Parliament determining trade law where the weight or size of the goods being traded are important. For example, if a bottle of milk is for sale and has a label saying it contains one pint, then the law states that it must contain that amount.-United...

. Spirits (gin, whisky, rum, and vodka) are sold in 25 ml or 35 ml quantities or multiples thereof. Beer is typically served in pint
Pint
The pint is a unit of volume or capacity that was once used across much of Europe with values varying from state to state from less than half a litre to over one litre. Within continental Europe, the pint was replaced with the metric system during the nineteenth century...

s (568 ml), but is also served in half-pints or third-pints.

In the Republic of Ireland, the serving size of spirits is 35.5 ml or 71 ml. Beer is usually served in pints or half-pints ("glasses").

In the Netherlands and Belgium, standard servings are 250 and 500 ml for pilsner; 300 and 330 ml for ale
Ale
Ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a warm fermentation with a strain of brewers' yeast. The yeast will ferment the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste...

s.

Flavoring


Alcohol is a moderately good solvent
Solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

 for many fatty substances and essential oils. This attribute facilitates the use of flavoring and coloring compounds in alcoholic beverages, especially distilled beverages. Flavors may be naturally present in the beverage’s base material. Beer and wine may be flavored before fermentation. Spirits may be flavored before, during, or after distillation.

Sometimes flavor is obtained by allowing the beverage to stand for months or years in oak barrels, usually American or French oak.

A few brands of spirits have fruit or herbs inserted into the bottle at the time of bottling.

Flammability



Liquor that contains 40% ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

 (80 US proof) will catch fire if heated to about 79 °F (26.1 °C) and if an ignition source is applied to it. (This is called its flash point
Flash point
The flash point of a volatile material is the lowest temperature at which it can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in air. Measuring a flash point requires an ignition source...

. The flash point of pure alcohol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 is 62.88 °F (17.2 °C), less than average room temperature.)

The flash points of alcohol concentrations from 10% ABV to 96% ABV are shown below:
  • 10% — 120 °F (48.9 °C) — wine
  • 20% — 97 °F (36.1 °C) — fortified wine
    Fortified wine
    Fortified wine is wine to which a distilled beverage has been added. Fortified wine is distinguished from spirits made from wine in that spirits are produced by means of distillation, while fortified wine is simply wine that has had a spirit added to it...

  • 30% — 84 °F (28.9 °C)
  • 40% — 79 °F (26.1 °C) — typical whisky
  • 50% — 75 °F (23.9 °C) — strong whisky
  • 60% — 72 °F (22.2 °C)
  • 70% — 70 °F (21.1 °C) — absinthe
    Absinthe
    Absinthe is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage. It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from herbs, including the flowers and leaves of the herb Artemisia absinthium, commonly referred to as "grande wormwood", together with green anise and sweet fennel...

  • 80% — 68 °F (20 °C)
  • 90% — 63 °F (17.2 °C) — neutral grain spirit
    Neutral grain spirit
    Neutral grain spirit is a clear, colorless, flammable liquid that has been distilled from a grain-based mash to a very high level of ethanol content...

  • 96% — 63 °F (17.2 °C)


Beverages that have a low concentration of alcohol will burn if sufficiently heated and an ignition source (such as an electric spark
Electric spark
An electric spark is a type of electrostatic discharge that occurs when an electric field creates an ionized electrically conductive channel in air producing a brief emission of light and sound. A spark is formed when the electric field strength exceeds the dielectric field strength of air...

 or a match) is applied to them. For example, the flash point of ordinary wine containing 12.5% alcohol is about 125 °F (51.7 °C).

Uses


In many countries, people drink alcoholic beverages at lunch and dinner
Dinner
Dinner is usually the name of the main meal of the day. Depending upon culture, dinner may be the second, third or fourth meal of the day. Originally, though, it referred to the first meal of the day, eaten around noon, and is still occasionally used for a noontime meal, if it is a large or main...

. Studies have found that when food is eaten before drinking alcohol, alcohol absorption is reduced and the rate at which alcohol is eliminated from the blood is increased. The mechanism for the faster alcohol elimination appears to be unrelated to the type of food. The likely mechanism is food-induced increases in alcohol-metabolizing enzymes and liver blood flow.

At times and places of poor public sanitation (such as Medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

), the consumption of alcoholic drinks was a way of avoiding water-borne diseases such as cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

. Small beer and faux wine, in particular, were used for this purpose. Although alcohol kills bacteria, its low concentration in these beverages would have had only a limited effect. More important was that the boiling of water (required for the brewing of beer) and the growth of yeast (required for fermentation
Fermentation (wine)
The process of fermentation in wine turns grape juice into an alcoholic beverage. During fermentation, yeast interact with sugars in the juice to create ethanol, commonly known as ethyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide...

 of beer and wine) would tend to kill dangerous microorganisms. The alcohol content of these beverages allowed them to be stored for months or years in simple wood or clay containers without spoiling. For this reason, they were commonly kept aboard sailing vessels as an important (or even the sole) source of hydration for the crew, especially during the long voyages of the early modern period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

.

In cold climates, potent alcoholic beverages such as vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

 are popularly seen as a way to “warm up” the body, possibly because alcohol is a quickly absorbed source of food energy
Food energy
Food energy is the amount of energy obtained from food that is available through cellular respiration.Food energy is expressed in food calories or kilojoules...

 and because it dilates peripheral blood vessels (peripherovascular dilation). This is a misconception because the “warmth” is actually caused by a transfer of heat from the body’s core to its extremities, where it is quickly lost to the environment. However, the perception alone may be welcomed when only comfort
Comfort
Comfort may refer to:*Comfort , by the rock group Failure*Comfort *Comfort Air, German airline*Comfort food*Comfort noise, artificial background noise used in radio and wireless communications to fill the silent time in a transmission*Comfort object, an object used to provide psychological...

, rather than hypothermia
Hypothermia
Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as . Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation...

, is a concern.

Alcohol consumption by country



Outright prohibition of alcohol



Some countries forbid alcoholic beverages, or have forbidden them in the past.

India


In some states of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 alcoholic drinks are banned (as in the states of Gujarat and Mizoram
Mizoram
Mizoram is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India, sharing borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur and with the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Burma. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987. Its capital is Aizawl. Mizoram is located in the...

). Prohibition has become controversial in Gujarat following a July 2009 episode
2009 Gujarat hooch tragedy
The 2009 Gujarat hooch tragedy occurred in July 2009 in Gujarat, resulting in the death of 136 people from consumption of bootleg liquor.-Background:...

 in which widespread poisoning resulted from alcohol that had been sold illegally.

The state of Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 had imposed prohibition under the Chief Ministership of N. T. Rama Rao
N. T. Rama Rao
Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao , also known as NTR and fondly referred to as Anna Garu, was an Indian film actor, director, producer, and a politician...

, but this was subsequently lifted.

Certain national holidays such as Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti
Gandhi Jayanti
Gandhi Jayanti is a National Holiday celebrated in India to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mohandas Gandhi, the "Father of the Nation." He was born on October 2, 1869. Hence Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated every year on the 2nd of October. It is one of the three official declared National...

(birthdate of Mahatma Gandhi) are meant to be dry nationally. Dry days are also observed on voting days. All of the Indian states observe dry days on major religious festivals/occasions depending on the popularity of the festival in that region.

Nordic countries


Two Nordic countries
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

 (Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, and Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

) had a period of alcohol Prohibition
Prohibition
Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

 in the early 20th century. This was the result of social democratic
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 campaigning. Prohibition did not have popular support, and it resulted in large-scale smuggling
Rum-running
Rum-running, also known as bootlegging, is the illegal business of transporting alcoholic beverages where such transportation is forbidden by law...

.

In Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, prohibition was heavily discussed, but never introduced, replaced by strict rationing and later by more lax regulation, which included allowing alcohol to be sold on Saturdays.

Following the end of prohibition, government alcohol monopolies
Alcohol monopoly
An alcohol monopoly is a government monopoly on manufacturing and/or retailing of some or all alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine and spirits. It can be used as an alternative for total prohibition...

 were established with detailed restrictions and high taxes. Some of these restrictions have since been lifted. For example, supermarkets in Finland are allowed to sell only fermented beverages with an alcohol content up to 4.7% ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

, but Alko
Alko
Alko is the national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly in Finland. It is the only store in the country which retails beer over 4.7% ABV, wine and spirits. Alcoholic beverages are also sold in licensed restaurants and bars but only for consumption on the premises...

, the government monopoly, is allowed to sell wine and spirits. This is also the case with the Swedish Systembolaget
Systembolaget
Systembolaget is a government owned chain of liquor stores in Sweden. It is the only retail store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5% alcohol. Systembolaget also sells non-alcoholic beverages. To buy alcoholic beverages at Systembolaget one has to be 20 years of age or...

 and the Norwegian Vinmonopolet
Vinmonopolet
Vinmonopolet , symbolized by Ⓥ and colloquially shortened to Polet, is a government owned alcoholic beverage retailer and the only company allowed to sell beverages containing an alcohol content higher than 4.75% in Norway....

.

United States


In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, there was an attempt from 1920 to 1933 to eliminate the drinking of alcoholic beverages by means of a national prohibition
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

 of their manufacture and sale. This period became known as the Prohibition era
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

. During this time, the 18th Amendment
Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution established Prohibition in the United States. The separate Volstead Act set down methods of enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment, and defined which "intoxicating liquors" were prohibited, and which were excluded from prohibition...

 to the Constitution of the United States made the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages illegal throughout the United States.

Prohibition led to the unintended consequence
Unintended consequence
In the social sciences, unintended consequences are outcomes that are not the outcomes intended by a purposeful action. The concept has long existed but was named and popularised in the 20th century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton...

 of causing widespread disrespect for the law, as many people procured alcoholic beverages from illegal sources. In this way, a lucrative business was created for illegal producers and sellers of alcohol, which led to the development of organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

. As a result, Prohibition became extremely unpopular, which ultimately led to the repeal of the 18th Amendment in 1933.

Prior to national Prohibition, beginning in the late 19th century, many state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

s and localities had enacted Prohibition within their jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

s. After the repeal of the 18th Amendment, some localities (known as dry counties
Dry county
A dry county is a county in the United States whose government forbids the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some prohibit off-premises sale, some prohibit on-premises sale, and some prohibit both. Hundreds of dry counties exist across the United States, almost all of them in the South...

) continued to ban the sale of alcohol.

Other countries


Some Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 countries, such as Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 prohibit the production, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages because they are forbidden by Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

Prohibition of drinking alcohol in public places



Japan


Japan allows open containers in some public areas, such as certain streets and trains, and allows alcoholic beverages to be sold from vending machines, which shut down at a specific time of night. Public drunkenness is not illegal in Japan.

Denmark


It is generally legal to drink alcoholic beverages in the street. Additional restrictions are sometimes applied by local authorities in problem areas. On public transportation, it is generally allowed to drink alcohol, but not to act heavily intoxicated.

Ireland


Consumption of alcohol is prohibited in outdoor public areas except those immediately outside the Bar/Pub. During Festivals or regattas open containers are permitted within a certain area of the festival/Regatta.

Netherlands


Drinking in public places is not banned by national law, but many cities and towns prohibit possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage in a public place.

Sweden


The legality of drinking alcoholic beverages in public places is determined by local regulations. Each municipality
Municipalities of Sweden
The municipalities of Sweden are the local government entities of Sweden. The current 290 municipalities are organized into 21 counties...

 decides its own rules concerning drinking in public places. Different rules may apply for different places within a municipality.

United Kingdom


Drinking in public places is not banned by national law, but some cities and towns have by-laws that prohibit possession of an open container of alcohol in a public place.

United States


Drinking alcohol in public places, such as streets and parks, is against the law in most of the United States. Moreover, even when a state (such as Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, and Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

) has no such ban, the vast majority of its cities and counties do have it. Some cities allow it in specified area such as on the Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is an approximately stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada; adjacent to, but outside the city limits of Las Vegas proper. The Strip lies within the unincorporated townships of Paradise and Winchester...

 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...


or during public festivals.

Legal drinking age


Most countries have prescribed a legal drinking age
Legal drinking age
Laws about the legal drinking age cover a wide range of issues and behaviours, addressing when and where alcohol can be consumed. The minimum age alcohol can be legally consumed can be different to the age when it can be purchased. These laws vary among different countries and many laws have...

 which prohibits the consumption of alcohol by minors
Minor (law)
In law, a minor is a person under a certain age — the age of majority — which legally demarcates childhood from adulthood; the age depends upon jurisdiction and application, but is typically 18...

. Most countries also prohibit the sale of alcohol to minors. Some countries have a tiered structure that limits the sale of stronger alcoholic drinks to older adults (typically based upon the percentage of ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

) Other restrictions that some countries impose is based on the place in which alcohol is consumed, such as in the home, in a restaurant, or in a bar. The age at which these restrictions come to an end varies significantly from country to country, as does the degree to which it is enforced, which can also vary within a country.

India



In India, the legal minimum age for buying and drinking alcohol is 18 to 25 years, depending on the state.

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the states of Gujarat and Mizoram
Mizoram
Mizoram is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India, sharing borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur and with the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Burma. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987. Its capital is Aizawl. Mizoram is located in the...

.

Europe


The legal drinking age and the legal age for buying alcoholic beverages vary from country to country in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, but 18 years is the most common age, with some exceptions depending on alcohol content.

Some countries have a tiered structure that limits the sale of stronger alcoholic drinks to older adults (typically based upon the percentage of ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

) . For example, in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, a purchaser of beer or wine must be 16 years of age, and 18 years of age for spirits
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

.

Denmark


The legal age for buying alcoholic beverages containing 1.2%-16.5% ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

 is 16 years in shops and 18 years in bars and restaurants. Beverages containing more than 16.5% ABV may not to be sold to persons under the age of 18.

Finland


In Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, the purchase and possession of alcoholic beverages that have up to 22 % ABV is allowed from age 18, and for stronger drinks from age 20. Stronger than 22 % ABV may be ordered in a restaurant from age 18.

France


Several laws are in place to limit alcohol consumption and reduce alcohol abuse. These laws have been strengthened several times. There is, however, no legal drinking age. Consumption of alcohol at home is not restricted.

Since 2009, selling any type of alcoholic beverage to a minor (a person younger than 18 years of age) is forbidden; it is also forbidden for people under 16 to be in a bar or restaurant that sells alcohol without being in the company of a parent or other person over 18. Bar owners are explicitly authorized by law to require an ID from their patrons. A poster informing customers of these rules must be placed in any business that sells alcohol.

Advertisement of alcoholic beverages is restricted, and their sale requires a license. Petrol stations may not sell refrigerated alcoholic beverages and may not sell any form of alcohol after 6 p.m. Bars may not offer a “happy hour
Happy hour
Happy hour is a marketing term for a period of time in which a restaurant or bar offers discounts on alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine, and cocktails.-Basic information:...

” without also offering a discount on non-alcoholic drinks.

Germany


German law is directed toward sellers of alcoholic beverages, not toward minor
Minor (law)
In law, a minor is a person under a certain age — the age of majority — which legally demarcates childhood from adulthood; the age depends upon jurisdiction and application, but is typically 18...

s.

German law vests control of the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the hands of parents and guardians.

Iceland


In Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, purchasers and possessors of alcoholic beverages must be 20 years of age, although 18- and 19-year-olds are allowed to drink alcohol.

Italy


Although the minimum age in Italy for legally drinking alcohol in bars
Bar (establishment)
A bar is a business establishment that serves alcoholic drinks — beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails — for consumption on the premises.Bars provide stools or chairs that are placed at tables or counters for their patrons. Some bars have entertainment on a stage, such as a live band, comedians, go-go...


and restaurant
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

s is 16 years, this law is rarely enforced.

The minimum age for working in a public place where alcohol is sold is also 16 years.

Alcoholic beverages are commonly sold in grocery store
Grocery store
A grocery store is a store that retails food. A grocer, the owner of a grocery store, stocks different kinds of foods from assorted places and cultures, and sells these "groceries" to customers. Large grocery stores that stock products other than food, such as clothing or household items, are...

s and supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

s. A license to sell is required only for those establishments that serve them to the public, as in a bar
Bar (establishment)
A bar is a business establishment that serves alcoholic drinks — beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails — for consumption on the premises.Bars provide stools or chairs that are placed at tables or counters for their patrons. Some bars have entertainment on a stage, such as a live band, comedians, go-go...

.

Norway


In Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, the purchase and possession of alcoholic beverages that have up to 22 % ABV is allowed from age 18, and for stronger drinks from age 20.

Sweden


In Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, alcoholic beverages with less than 2.25 % ABV (low-alcohol beer
Low-alcohol beer
Low-alcohol beer is beer with very low or no alcohol content...

 and cider) are sold without any age limit in grocery stores, while alcoholic beverages with less than 3.5 % ABV (stronger low-alcohol beer and cider) may be bought in grocery stores from the age of 18. Alcoholic beverages with more than 3.5 % ABV (beer, cider, wine and spirits) may be bought at restaurants, bars and nightclubs from the age of 18 and in the state-run stores (Systembolaget
Systembolaget
Systembolaget is a government owned chain of liquor stores in Sweden. It is the only retail store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5% alcohol. Systembolaget also sells non-alcoholic beverages. To buy alcoholic beverages at Systembolaget one has to be 20 years of age or...

) from the age of 20. A significant proportion of spirits consumed in Sweden is bought abroad during holidays or business trips in countries with lower alcohol taxes (e.g. Denmark, Estonia, Germany and Spain) or duty-free on the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 ferries passing Åland, which due to its special status within the EU but outside the EU tax union enables duty free shopping.hi

United Kingdom


In the United Kingdom, the minimum age to purchase alcohol is 18 years in a bar or off-license establishment (e.g. a supermarket).

In private, the minimum age to consume alcohol is 5 years.

In England and Wales, persons over 16 may drink beer, wine, cider, or perry with a table meal, if it is bought by an adult. In Scotland, the same rules apply but there is no requirement that an adult purchase the beverage.

Shop workers
Retailing
Retail consists of the sale of physical goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be...

 under the age of 18 may not legally sell alcohol.

United States



The legal age for buying and possessing (but not necessarily for drinking) has been 21 years in every state since shortly after the passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act
National Minimum Drinking Age Act
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was passed on July 17, 1984 by the United States Congress as a mechanism whereby all states would become thereafter required to legislate the age of 21 years as a minimum age for purchasing and publicly possessing alcoholic beverages...

 in 1984, which tied federal highway funds to states' maintaining a minimum drinking age of 21.

Despite a rekindled national debate in 2008 on the established drinking age (initiated by several university presidents), a Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University is a private university founded as a junior college in 1942. It now has several campuses located in New Jersey, Canada, and the United Kingdom.-Description:...

 PublicMind poll
Opinion poll
An opinion poll, sometimes simply referred to as a poll is a survey of public opinion from a particular sample. Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities in ratio or within confidence...

 found in September 2008 that 76% of New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

ans supported leaving the legal drinking age at 21 years. No significant differences emerged when considering gender, political affiliation, or region. However, parents of younger children were more likely to support keeping the age at 21 (83%) than parents of college-age students (67%).

Seventeen states (Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

, South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, and Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

) and the District of Columbia have laws against possession of alcohol by minors, but they do not prohibit its consumption by minors.

Fourteen states (Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

, and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

) specifically permit minors to drink alcohol given to them by their parents or by someone entrusted by their parents.

Many states also permit the drinking of alcohol under the age of 21 for religious or health reasons.

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, a territory of the United States, has maintained a drinking age of 18.

United States customs laws stipulate that no person under the age of 21 may bring any type or quantity of alcohol into the country.

Drunk driving laws


Most countries have drunk driving
Driving under the influence
Driving under the influence is the act of driving a motor vehicle with blood levels of alcohol in excess of a legal limit...

 laws which limit how much alcohol a person can consume before driving a car on a road. The permitted blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content , also called blood alcohol concentration, blood ethanol concentration, or blood alcohol level is most commonly used as a metric of alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes....

 threshold ranges from 0.0% to 0.08%.

Punishments for violation include fines, temporary or permanent loss of driver's license
Driver's license
A driver's license/licence , or driving licence is an official document which states that a person may operate a motorized vehicle, such as a motorcycle, car, truck or a bus, on a public roadway. Most U.S...

, and imprisonment
Incarceration
Incarceration is the detention of a person in prison, typically as punishment for a crime .People are most commonly incarcerated upon suspicion or conviction of committing a crime, and different jurisdictions have differing laws governing the function of incarceration within a larger system of...

. Some jurisdictions have similar prohibitions for drunk sailing, drunk bicycling, and even drunk rollerblading. In many places in the United States, it is also illegal to have an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the passenger compartment of a vehicle.

Restrictions on production


In most countries, the commercial
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

 production of alcoholic beverages requires a license from the government, which then levies a tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 upon these beverages. In many countries, alcoholic beverages may be produced in the home for personal use without a license or tax.

Denmark


Home production of wine and beer is not regulated. Home distillation of spirit
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

s is legal but not common because it is subject to the same tax as spirits sold commercially. Danish alcohol taxes are significantly lower than in Sweden and Norway, but higher than those of most other European countries.

New Zealand


New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 is one of the few countries where it is legal to produce any form of alcohol for personal use, including spirits
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

. The beverages produced are neither licensed nor taxed. This situation has made the use of home distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

 equipment quite popular.

United Kingdom


In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the Customs and Excise department issues distilling licenses, but people may produce beer and wine for personal consumption without a license.

United States


See also: Alcohol laws of Kansas
Alcohol laws of Kansas
The alcohol laws of Kansas are among the strictest in the United States, in sharp contrast to its neighboring state of Missouri , and similar to its other neighboring state of Oklahoma...

, Alcohol laws of Missouri
Alcohol laws of Missouri
The alcohol laws of Missouri are among the most permissive in the United States when compared to other U.S. states, though Nevada's and Louisiana's are similar...

, Alcohol laws of New York
Alcohol laws of New York
The alcohol laws of New York are among the most lenient of any state in the Atlantic Northeast of the United States, but they remain considerably more restrictive than those of Louisiana, Missouri , Nevada, Illinois, New Mexico, and Arizona.-State Liquor Authority:The serving of alcohol in the...

, Alcohol laws of Oklahoma
Alcohol laws of Oklahoma
The alcohol laws of Oklahoma comprehensively limit and regulate the sale of alcohol in Oklahoma. Much like its neighboring state of Kansas , Oklahoma's approach to alcohol is quite strict....



The production of distilled beverage
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

s is regulated and taxed. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, statutorily named the Tax and Trade Bureau and frequently shortened to TTB, is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury....

 (formerly a single organization called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) enforce federal laws and regulations related to alcohol. All packaging of alcoholic products must contain a health warning
Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act
The Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, , , is a United States federal law requiring that the labels of alcoholic beverages carry a government warning.The warning reads:...

 from the Surgeon General
Surgeon General of the United States
The Surgeon General of the United States is the operational head of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and thus the leading spokesperson on matters of public health in the federal government...

.

In most of the American states
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

, individuals may produce wine and beer for personal consumption (but not for sale) in amounts [usually] of up to 100 gallons per adult per year, but no more than 200 gallons per household per year.

The illegal (i.e., unlicensed) production of liquor in the United States is commonly referred to as “moonshining
Moonshine
Moonshine is an illegally produced distilled beverage...

.” Illegally produced liquor (popularly called “white lightning”) is not aged and contains a high percentage of alcohol.

Canada


In most Canadian provinces, there is a government monopoly
Government monopoly
In economics, a government monopoly is a form of coercive monopoly in which a government agency or government corporation is the sole provider of a particular good or service and competition is prohibited by law...

 on the sale of alcohol. Two examples of this are the Liquor Control Board of Ontario
Liquor Control Board of Ontario
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario is a provincial Crown corporation in Ontario, Canada established in 1927 by Lieutenant Governor William Donald Ross, on the advice of his Premier, Howard Ferguson, to sell liquor, wine, and beer through a chain of retail stores...

, and the Liquor Distribution Branch
Liquor Distribution Branch
The Liquor Distribution Branch is one of the two governmental bodies responsible for regulating and monitoring the liquor industry in the Canadian province of British Columbia within the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General...

 of British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

. Government control and supervision of the sale of alcohol was a compromise devised in the 1920s between “drys
Dry county
A dry county is a county in the United States whose government forbids the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some prohibit off-premises sale, some prohibit on-premises sale, and some prohibit both. Hundreds of dry counties exist across the United States, almost all of them in the South...

” and “wets” for the purpose of ending Prohibition in Canada
Prohibition in Canada
The temperance movement reached its height in Canada in the 1920s, when outside imports were cut off by provincial referendums. As legislation prohibiting consumption of alcohol was repealed, it was typically replaced with regulation restricting the sale of alcohol to minors and imposing excise...

. Some provinces have moved away from government monopoly. In Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, privately owned liquor stores exist, and in Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 a limited number of wines and liquors can be purchased at dépanneur
Dépanneur
A dépanneur is a convenience store, usually part of a chain, or an independently-run corner shop, general store or deli, in the province of Quebec in Canada...

s
and grocery stores.

Canada has some of the highest excise taxes on alcohol in the world. These taxes are a source of income for governments and are also meant to discourage drinking. (See Taxation in Canada
Taxation in Canada
The level of Taxation in Canada is average among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.-Administration:...

.)

Restrictions on the sale of alcohol vary from province to province. In Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, changes introduced in 2008 included a ban on “happy hour
Happy hour
Happy hour is a marketing term for a period of time in which a restaurant or bar offers discounts on alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine, and cocktails.-Basic information:...

,” minimum prices, and a limit on the number of drinks a person can buy in a bar or pub at one time after 1 a.m.

Nordic countries


In each of the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

, except Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, the government has a monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 on the sale of liquor.

The state-run vendor is called Systembolaget
Systembolaget
Systembolaget is a government owned chain of liquor stores in Sweden. It is the only retail store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5% alcohol. Systembolaget also sells non-alcoholic beverages. To buy alcoholic beverages at Systembolaget one has to be 20 years of age or...

 in Sweden, Vinmonopolet
Vinmonopolet
Vinmonopolet , symbolized by Ⓥ and colloquially shortened to Polet, is a government owned alcoholic beverage retailer and the only company allowed to sell beverages containing an alcohol content higher than 4.75% in Norway....

 in Norway, Alko
Alko
Alko is the national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly in Finland. It is the only store in the country which retails beer over 4.7% ABV, wine and spirits. Alcoholic beverages are also sold in licensed restaurants and bars but only for consumption on the premises...

 in Finland, Vínbúð
Vínbúð
Vínbúð is a chain of 46 stores run by the Icelandic alcohol and tobacco monopoly ÁTVR, locally called ríkið . It is Iceland's sole legal vendor of alcohol for off-premises consumption, though in practice most bars and restaurants will not prevent you from leaving with purchased drinks...

 in Iceland, and Rúsdrekkasøla Landsins in the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

. The first such monopoly was in Falun
Falun
Falun is a city and the seat of Falun Municipality in Dalarna County, Sweden, with 36,447 inhabitants in 2005. It is also the capital of Dalarna County...

 in the 19th century.

The governments of these countries claim that the purpose of these monopolies is to reduce the consumption of alcohol. In the Nordic countries, binge drinking
Binge drinking
Binge drinking or heavy episodic drinking is the modern epithet for drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time. It is a kind of purposeful drinking style that is popular in several countries worldwide,...

 is an ancient tradition. These monopolies have had success in the past, but since joining the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 it has been difficult to curb the importation of liquor, legal or illegal, from other EU countries. That has made the monopolies less effective in reducing excessive drinking.

There is an ongoing debate over whether to retain these state-run monopolies.

Norway


In Norway, beers with an alcohol content of 4.74% by volume or less can be legally sold in grocery stores. Stronger beers, wines, and spirits can only be bought at government monopoly vendors. All alcoholic beverages can be bought at licensed bars and restaurants, but they must be consumed on the premises.

Norway levies some of the heaviest taxes in the world on alcoholic beverages, particularly on spirits. These taxes are levied on top of a 25% VAT
Vat
Vat or VAT may refer to:* A type of container such as a barrel, storage tank, or tub, often constructed of welded sheet stainless steel, and used for holding, storing, and processing liquids such as milk, wine, and beer...

 on all goods and services. For example, 700 mL of Absolut Vodka
Absolut Vodka
Absolut Vodka is a brand of vodka, produced near Åhus, Skåne, in southern Sweden. Since July 2008 the company has been owned by the French firm Pernod Ricard who bought V&S Group from the Swedish government....

 currently retails at 299 NOK
Norwegian krone
The krone is the currency of Norway and its dependent territories. The plural form is kroner . It is subdivided into 100 øre. The ISO 4217 code is NOK, although the common local abbreviation is kr. The name translates into English as "crown"...

, which is about US $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

54.

Sweden


In Sweden, beer with a low alcohol content (called folköl, 2.25% to 3.5% alcohol by weight) can be sold in regular stores to anyone aged 18 or over, but beverages with a high alcohol content can only be sold by government-run vendors to people aged 20 or older, or by licensed facilities such as restaurants and bars
Bar (establishment)
A bar is a business establishment that serves alcoholic drinks — beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails — for consumption on the premises.Bars provide stools or chairs that are placed at tables or counters for their patrons. Some bars have entertainment on a stage, such as a live band, comedians, go-go...

, where the age limit is 18. Alcoholic drinks bought at these licensed facilities must be consumed on the premises; it is not allowed to consume alcoholic drinks bought elsewhere.

United States




See also: Alcoholic beverage control state
Alcoholic beverage control state
Alcoholic beverage control states, generally called control states, are those in the United States that have state monopoly over the wholesaling and/or retailing of some or all categories of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits....

, Alcohol laws of Kansas
Alcohol laws of Kansas
The alcohol laws of Kansas are among the strictest in the United States, in sharp contrast to its neighboring state of Missouri , and similar to its other neighboring state of Oklahoma...

, Alcohol laws of Missouri
Alcohol laws of Missouri
The alcohol laws of Missouri are among the most permissive in the United States when compared to other U.S. states, though Nevada's and Louisiana's are similar...

, Alcohol laws of New York
Alcohol laws of New York
The alcohol laws of New York are among the most lenient of any state in the Atlantic Northeast of the United States, but they remain considerably more restrictive than those of Louisiana, Missouri , Nevada, Illinois, New Mexico, and Arizona.-State Liquor Authority:The serving of alcohol in the...

, Alcohol laws of Oklahoma
Alcohol laws of Oklahoma
The alcohol laws of Oklahoma comprehensively limit and regulate the sale of alcohol in Oklahoma. Much like its neighboring state of Kansas , Oklahoma's approach to alcohol is quite strict....



In the United States, the sale of alcoholic beverages is controlled by the individual states, by the counties
County (United States)
In the United States, a county is a geographic subdivision of a state , usually assigned some governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states; Louisiana is divided into parishes and Alaska into boroughs. Parishes and boroughs are called "county-equivalents" by the U.S...

 or parishes within each state, and by local jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

s. In many States, alcohol can only be sold by staff qualified to serve responsibly through Alcohol Server Training
Alcohol Server Training
Alcohol server training is a form of occupational education typically provided to servers, sellers and consumers of alcohol to prevent intoxication, drunk driving and underage drinking...

. A county that prohibits the sale of alcohol is known as a dry county
Dry county
A dry county is a county in the United States whose government forbids the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some prohibit off-premises sale, some prohibit on-premises sale, and some prohibit both. Hundreds of dry counties exist across the United States, almost all of them in the South...

. In some states, liquor sales are prohibited on Sunday by a blue law
Blue law
A blue law is a type of law, typically found in the United States and, formerly, in Canada, designed to enforce religious standards, particularly the observance of Sunday as a day of worship or rest, and a restriction on Sunday shopping...

.

The places where alcohol may be sold or possessed, like all other alcohol restrictions, vary from state to state. Some states, like Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, and Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, have very permissive alcohol laws, whereas other states, like Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

 and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, have very strict alcohol laws.

For example, in most of North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

, beer and wine may be purchased in retail stores, but distilled spirits are only available at state ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) stores. In Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, distilled spirits are available in liquor store
Liquor store
In the United States, Australia and Canada, a liquor store is a type of store that specializes in the sale of alcoholic beverages. In South Africa and Namibia these stores are generally called bottle stores....

s except in Montgomery County
Montgomery County, Maryland
Montgomery County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland, situated just to the north of Washington, D.C., and southwest of the city of Baltimore. It is one of the most affluent counties in the United States, and has the highest percentage of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate...

, where they are sold only by the county.

Many states require that liquor may be sold only in liquor store
Liquor store
In the United States, Australia and Canada, a liquor store is a type of store that specializes in the sale of alcoholic beverages. In South Africa and Namibia these stores are generally called bottle stores....

s. In nineteen alcoholic beverage control state
Alcoholic beverage control state
Alcoholic beverage control states, generally called control states, are those in the United States that have state monopoly over the wholesaling and/or retailing of some or all categories of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits....

s, the state has a monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 on the sale of liquor. In Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, state law does not specify the locations where alcohol may be sold.

Most states follow a three-tier
Three-tier (alcohol distribution)
The three-tier system of alcohol distribution is the system for distributing alcoholic beverages set up in the United States after the repeal of Prohibition. The three tiers are producers, distributors, and retailers. The basic premise of the system is that producers must sell only to...

 system in which producers cannot sell directly to retailers, but must instead sell to distributors, who in turn sell to retailers. Exceptions often exist for brewpubs (pubs which brew their own beer) and wineries, which are allowed to sell their products directly to consumers.

Most states also do not allow open containers of alcohol inside moving vehicles. The federal Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century of 1999 mandates that, if a state does not prohibit open containers of alcohol inside moving vehicles, then a percentage of its federal highway funds will be transferred instead to alcohol education programs each year. As of November, 2007, only one state (Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

) allows drivers to consume alcohol while driving (below the 0.08% limit), and only six states (Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, and West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

) allow passengers to consume alcohol while the vehicle is in motion.

Five U.S. states limit alcohol sales in grocery store
Grocery store
A grocery store is a store that retails food. A grocer, the owner of a grocery store, stocks different kinds of foods from assorted places and cultures, and sells these "groceries" to customers. Large grocery stores that stock products other than food, such as clothing or household items, are...

s and gas stations to beer at or below 3.2% alcohol: Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, and Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

. In these states, stronger beverages are restricted to liquor stores. In Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, liquor stores may not refrigerate any beverage containing more than 3.2% alcohol. Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 also has provisions for 3.2% beer, but its permissive alcohol laws
Alcohol laws of Missouri
The alcohol laws of Missouri are among the most permissive in the United States when compared to other U.S. states, though Nevada's and Louisiana's are similar...

 (when compared to other states) make this type of beer a rarity.

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 is starting to allow grocery stores and gas stations to sell alcohol. Wines and spirits are still sold at locations called "state stores," but wine kiosks are starting to be put in at grocery stores. The kiosks are connected to a database in Harrisburg, and purchasers must present valid ID, signature, and look into a camera for facial identification to purchase wine. Only after all of these measures are passed is the individual allowed to obtain 1 bottle of wine from the "vending machine". The kiosks are only open during the same hours as the state run liquor stores, and are not open on Sundays.

Effects of alcohol on health



Short-term effects of alcohol
Short-term effects of alcohol
Short-term effects of alcohol on the human body can take many forms. The drug alcohol, to be specific ethanol, is a central nervous system depressant with a range of side-effects. The amount and circumstances of consumption play a large part in determining the extent of intoxication; for example,...

 consumption include intoxication and dehydration
Dehydration
In physiology and medicine, dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism...

. Long-term effects of alcohol
Long-term effects of alcohol
The long term effects of alcohol range from possible health benefits for low levels of alcohol consumption to severe detrimental effects in cases of chronic alcohol abuse...

 include changes in the metabolism of the liver and brain and alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 (addiction to alcohol).

Alcohol intoxication affects the brain, causing slurred speech, clumsiness, and delayed reflexes. Alcohol stimulates insulin
Insulin
Insulin is a hormone central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle....

 production, which speeds up glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

 metabolism
Metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

 and can result in low blood sugar
Blood sugar
The blood sugar concentration or blood glucose level is the amount of glucose present in the blood of a human or animal. Normally in mammals, the body maintains the blood glucose level at a reference range between about 3.6 and 5.8 mM , or 64.8 and 104.4 mg/dL...

, causing irritability and (for diabetics
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced...

) possible death. Severe alcohol poisoning can be fatal.

A blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content , also called blood alcohol concentration, blood ethanol concentration, or blood alcohol level is most commonly used as a metric of alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes....

 of .45% in test animals results in a median lethal dose of . This means that .45% is the concentration of blood alcohol that is fatal in 50% of the test subjects. That is about six times the level of ordinary intoxication (0.08%), but vomiting or unconsciousness may occur much sooner in people who have a low tolerance for alcohol. The high tolerance of chronic heavy drinkers may allow some of them to remain conscious at levels above .40%, although serious health dangers are incurred at this level.

Alcohol also limits the production of vasopressin
Vasopressin
Arginine vasopressin , also known as vasopressin, argipressin or antidiuretic hormone , is a neurohypophysial hormone found in most mammals, including humans. Vasopressin is a peptide hormone that controls the reabsorption of molecules in the tubules of the kidneys by affecting the tissue's...

 (ADH) from the hypothalamus
Hypothalamus
The Hypothalamus is a portion of the brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a variety of functions...

 and the secretion of this hormone
Hormone
A hormone is a chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. In essence, it is a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one...

 from the posterior pituitary
Posterior pituitary
The posterior pituitary comprises the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland and is part of the endocrine system. Despite its name, the posterior pituitary gland is not a gland, per se; rather, it is largely a collection of axonal projections from the hypothalamus that terminate behind the anterior...

 gland. This is what causes severe dehydration
Dehydration
In physiology and medicine, dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism...

 when large amounts of alcohol are drunk. It also causes a high concentration of water in the urine
Urine
Urine is a typically sterile liquid by-product of the body that is secreted by the kidneys through a process called urination and excreted through the urethra. Cellular metabolism generates numerous by-products, many rich in nitrogen, that require elimination from the bloodstream...

 and vomit and the intense thirst that goes along with a hangover
Hangover
A hangover describes the sum of unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. The most commonly reported characteristics of a hangover include headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, lethargy, dysphoria, diarrhea and thirst, typically after the...

.

Alcoholism


Proclivity to alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 may be partially genetic. Persons who have this proclivity may have an atypical biochemical response to alcohol, although this is disputed.

Alcoholism can lead to malnutrition because it can alter digestion and the metabolism of most nutrients. Severe thiamine
Thiamine
Thiamine or thiamin or vitamin B1 , named as the "thio-vitamine" is a water-soluble vitamin of the B complex. First named aneurin for the detrimental neurological effects if not present in the diet, it was eventually assigned the generic descriptor name vitamin B1. Its phosphate derivatives are...

 deficiency is common in alcoholism due to deficiency of folate
Folic acid
Folic acid and folate , as well as pteroyl-L-glutamic acid, pteroyl-L-glutamate, and pteroylmonoglutamic acid are forms of the water-soluble vitamin B9...

, riboflavin
Riboflavin
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2 or additive E101, is an easily absorbed micronutrient with a key role in maintaining health in humans and animals. It is the central component of the cofactors FAD and FMN, and is therefore required by all flavoproteins. As such, vitamin B2 is required for a...

, vitamin B6
B vitamins
B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. The B vitamins were once thought to be a single vitamin, referred to as vitamin B . Later research showed that they are chemically distinct vitamins that often coexist in the same foods...

, and selenium
Selenium
Selenium is a chemical element with atomic number 34, chemical symbol Se, and an atomic mass of 78.96. It is a nonmetal, whose properties are intermediate between those of adjacent chalcogen elements sulfur and tellurium...

 ; this can lead to Korsakoff's syndrome
Korsakoff's syndrome
Korsakoff's syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by the lack of thiamine in the brain. Its onset is linked to chronic alcohol abuse and/or severe malnutrition...

. Alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 is also associated with a type of dementia called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome is a manifestation of thiamine deficiency, or beriberi. This is usually secondary to alcohol abuse...

, which is caused by a deficiency in thiamine
Thiamine
Thiamine or thiamin or vitamin B1 , named as the "thio-vitamine" is a water-soluble vitamin of the B complex. First named aneurin for the detrimental neurological effects if not present in the diet, it was eventually assigned the generic descriptor name vitamin B1. Its phosphate derivatives are...

 (vitamin B1).

Muscle cramps, nausea, loss of appetite, nerve disorders, and depression are common symptoms of alcoholism. Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis the bone mineral density is reduced, bone microarchitecture is deteriorating, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone is altered...

 and bone fractures may occur due to deficiency of vitamin D
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids. In humans, vitamin D is unique both because it functions as a prohormone and because the body can synthesize it when sun exposure is adequate ....

.

Heart disease


One study found that men who drank moderate amounts of alcohol three or more times a week were up to 35% less likely to have a heart attack than non-drinkers, and men who increased their alcohol consumption by one drink per day over the 12 years of the study had a 22% lower risk of heart attack.

Daily intake of one or two units of alcohol (a half or full standard glass of wine) is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease
Coronary artery disease is the end result of the accumulation of atheromatous plaques within the walls of the coronary arteries that supply the myocardium with oxygen and nutrients. It is sometimes also called coronary heart disease...

 in men over 40, and in women who have been through menopause. However, getting drunk one or more times per month put women at a significantly increased risk of heart attack, negating alcohol's potential protective effect.

Increased longevity
Longevity
The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography or known as "long life", especially when it concerns someone or something lasting longer than expected ....

 due to alcohol consumption is almost entirely the result of a reduced rate of coronary heart disease.

Dementia



Excessive drinking has been linked to dementia
Dementia
Dementia is a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging...

; it is estimated that 10% to 24% of dementia cases are caused by alcohol consumption, with women being at greater risk than men.

Alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 is associated with a type of dementia called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome is a manifestation of thiamine deficiency, or beriberi. This is usually secondary to alcohol abuse...

, which is caused by a deficiency in thiamine
Thiamine
Thiamine or thiamin or vitamin B1 , named as the "thio-vitamine" is a water-soluble vitamin of the B complex. First named aneurin for the detrimental neurological effects if not present in the diet, it was eventually assigned the generic descriptor name vitamin B1. Its phosphate derivatives are...

 (vitamin B1).

In people aged 55 or older, daily light-to-moderate drinking (one to three drinks) was associated with a 42% reduction in the probability of developing dementia and a 70% reduction in risk of vascular dementia. The researchers suggest that alcohol may stimulate the release of acetylcholine
Acetylcholine
The chemical compound acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in both the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system in many organisms including humans...

 in the hippocampus
Hippocampus
The hippocampus is a major component of the brains of humans and other vertebrates. It belongs to the limbic system and plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation. Humans and other mammals have two hippocampi, one in...

 area of the brain.

Cancer


Alcohol consumption has been linked with seven types of cancer: mouth cancer, pharyngeal cancer, oesophageal cancer, laryngeal cancer, breast cancer
Breast cancer
Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

, bowel cancer and liver cancer
Liver cancer
Liver tumors or hepatic tumors are tumors or growths on or in the liver . Several distinct types of tumors can develop in the liver because the liver is made up of various cell types. These growths can be benign or malignant...

. Heavy drinkers are more likely to develop liver cancer due to cirrhosis of the liver.

The risk of developing cancer increases even with consumption of as little as three units of alcohol (one pint of lager or a large glass of wine) a day.

A global study found that 3.6% of all cancer cases worldwide are caused by drinking alcohol, resulting in 3.5% of all global cancer deaths. A study in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 found that alcohol causes about 6% of cancer deaths in the UK (9,000 deaths per year). A study in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 found that alcohol causes about 4.40% of all cancer deaths and 3.63% of all cancer incidences. For both men and women, the consumption of two or more drinks daily increases the risk of pancreatic cancer by 22%.

Women who regularly consume low to moderate amounts of alcohol have an increased risk of cancer of the upper digestive tract, rectum, liver, and breast.

Red wine contains resveratrol
Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi....

, which has some anti-cancer effect. However, based on studies done so far, there is no strong evidence that red wine protects against cancer in humans.

Diabetes


Daily consumption of a small amount of pure alcohol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 by older women may slow or prevent the onset of diabetes by lowering the level of blood glucose
Blood sugar
The blood sugar concentration or blood glucose level is the amount of glucose present in the blood of a human or animal. Normally in mammals, the body maintains the blood glucose level at a reference range between about 3.6 and 5.8 mM , or 64.8 and 104.4 mg/dL...

. However, the researchers caution that the study used pure alcohol and that alcoholic beverages contain additives, including sugar, which would negate this effect.

People with diabetes should avoid sugary drinks such as dessert wine
Dessert wine
Dessert wines are sweet wines typically served with dessert.There is no simple definition of a dessert wine. In the UK, a dessert wine is considered to be any sweet wine drunk with a meal, as opposed to the white fortified wines drunk before the meal, and the red fortified wines drunk after it...

s and liqueur
Liqueur
A liqueur is an alcoholic beverage that has been flavored with fruit, herbs, nuts, spices, flowers, or cream and bottled with added sugar. Liqueurs are typically quite sweet; they are usually not aged for long but may have resting periods during their production to allow flavors to marry.The...

s.

Stroke


A study found that lifelong abstainers were 2.36 times more likely to suffer a stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

 than those who regularly drank a moderate amount of alcohol beverages. Heavy drinkers were 2.88 times more likely to suffer a stroke than moderate drinkers.

Longevity


Alcohol consumption by the elderly results in increased longevity
Longevity
The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography or known as "long life", especially when it concerns someone or something lasting longer than expected ....

, which is almost entirely a result of lowered coronary heart disease. A British study found that consumption of two units of alcohol (one regular glass of wine) daily by doctors aged 48+ years increased longevity by reducing the risk of death by ischaemic heart disease
Ischaemic heart disease
Ischaemic or ischemic heart disease , or myocardial ischaemia, is a disease characterized by ischaemia of the heart muscle, usually due to coronary artery disease...

 and respiratory disease
Respiratory disease
Respiratory disease is a medical term that encompasses pathological conditions affecting the organs and tissues that make gas exchange possible in higher organisms, and includes conditions of the upper respiratory tract, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, pleura and pleural cavity, and the...

. Deaths for which alcohol consumption is known to increase risk accounted for only 5% of the total deaths, but this figure increased among those who drank more than two units of alcohol per day.

In a 2010 long-term study of an older population, the beneficial effects of moderate drinking were confirmed, but abstainers and heavy drinkers showed an increase of about 50% in mortality
Mortality rate
Mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit time...

 (even after controlling for confounding factors).

Mortality rate


A report of the United States Centers for Disease Control
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services headquartered in Druid Hills, unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, in Greater Atlanta...

 estimated that medium and high consumption of alcohol led to 75,754 deaths in the U.S. in 2001. Low consumption of alcohol had some beneficial effects, so a net 59,180 deaths were attributed to alcohol.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, heavy drinking is blamed for about 33,000 deaths a year.

A study in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 found that 29% to 44% of "unnatural" deaths (those not caused by illness) were related to alcohol. The causes of death included murder, suicide, falls, traffic accidents, asphyxia
Asphyxia
Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. An example of asphyxia is choking. Asphyxia causes generalized hypoxia, which primarily affects the tissues and organs...

, and intoxication.

A global study found that 3.6% of all cancer cases worldwide are caused by alcohol drinking, resulting in 3.5% of all global cancer deaths. A study in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 found that alcohol causes about 6% of cancer deaths in the UK (9,000 deaths per year).

Alcohol expectations


Alcohol expectations are belief
Belief
Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.-Belief, knowledge and epistemology:The terms belief and knowledge are used differently in philosophy....

s and attitude
Attitude (psychology)
An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual's degree of like or dislike for something. Attitudes are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event— this is often referred to as the attitude object...

s that people have about the effects they will experience when drinking alcoholic beverages. They are largely beliefs about alcohol's effects on a person’s behaviors, abilities, and emotions. Some people believe that if alcohol expectations can be changed, then alcohol abuse
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 might be reduced.

The phenomenon of alcohol expectations recognizes that intoxication has real physiological consequences that alter a drinker's perception of space and time, reduce psychomotor skills, and disrupt equilibrium. The manner and degree to which alcohol expectations interact with the physiological effects of intoxication, resulting in specific behaviors, is unclear.

A single study found, if a society believes that intoxication leads to sexual behavior
Alcohol and sex
Alcohol consumption has a number of effects on sexual intercourse and sexual behavior. The effects of alcohol are a balance between its suppressive effects on sexual physiology, which will decrease sexual activity, and its suppression of psychological inhibitions, which will increase the desire for...

, rowdy behavior, or aggression, then people tend to act that way when intoxicated. But if a society believes that intoxication leads to relaxation and tranquil behavior, then it usually leads to those outcomes. Alcohol expectations vary within a society, so these outcomes are not certain.

People tend to conform to social expectations, and some societies expect that drinking alcohol will cause disinhibition
Disinhibition
Disinhibition is a term in psychology used to describe a lack of restraint manifested in several ways, including disregard for social conventions, impulsivity, and poor risk assessment. Disinhibition affects motor, instinctual, emotional, cognitive and perceptual aspects with signs and symptoms...

. However, in societies in which the people do not expect that alcohol will disinhibit, intoxication seldom leads to disinhibition and bad behavior.

Alcohol expectations can operate in the absence of actual consumption of alcohol. Research in the United States over a period of decades has shown that men tend to become more sexually aroused when they think they have been drinking alcohol, — even when they have not been drinking it. Women report feeling more sexually aroused when they falsely believe the beverages they have been drinking contained alcohol (although one measure of their physiological arousal shows that they became less aroused).

Men tend to become more aggressive in laboratory studies in which they are drinking only tonic water
Tonic water
Tonic water is a carbonated soft drink in which quinine is dissolved. Originally used as a prophylactic against malaria, tonic water usually now has a significantly lower quinine content and is consumed for its distinctively bitter taste...

 but believe that it contains alcohol. They also become less aggressive when they believe they are drinking only tonic water, but are actually drinking tonic water that contains alcohol.

Alcohol and religion


Some alcoholic beverages have been invested with religious
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 significance, as in the ancient Greco-Roman religion, such as in the ecstatic
Ecstasy (emotion)
Ecstasy is a subjective experience of total involvement of the subject, with an object of his or her awareness. Because total involvement with an object of our interest is not our ordinary experience since we are ordinarily aware also of other objects, the ecstasy is an example of altered state of...

 rituals of Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 (also called Bacchus). Some have postulated that pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 religions actively promoted alcohol and drunkenness as a means of fostering fertility
Fertility
Fertility is the natural capability of producing offsprings. As a measure, "fertility rate" is the number of children born per couple, person or population. Fertility differs from fecundity, which is defined as the potential for reproduction...

. Alcohol was believed to increase sexual desire and to make it easier to approach another person for sex
Alcohol and sex
Alcohol consumption has a number of effects on sexual intercourse and sexual behavior. The effects of alcohol are a balance between its suppressive effects on sexual physiology, which will decrease sexual activity, and its suppression of psychological inhibitions, which will increase the desire for...

. For example, Norse paganism
Norse paganism
Norse paganism is the religious traditions of the Norsemen, a Germanic people living in the Nordic countries. Norse paganism is therefore a subset of Germanic paganism, which was practiced in the lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of Northern and Central Europe in the Viking Age...

 considered alcohol to be the sap of Yggdrasil
Yggdrasil
In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology. It was said to be the world tree around which the nine worlds existed...

. Drunkenness was an important fertility rite
Fertility rite
Fertility rites are religious rituals that reenact, either actually or symbolically, sexual acts and/or reproductive processes: 'sexual intoxication is a typical component of the...rites of the various functional gods who control reproduction, whether of man, beast, cattle, or grains of seed'..They...

 in this religion.

Some religions forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages for various reasons. These include Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

, the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

, the Church of Christ, Scientist
Church of Christ, Scientist
The Church of Christ, Scientist was founded in 1879 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, by Mary Baker Eddy. She was the author of the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Christian Science teaches that the "allness" of God denies the reality of sin, sickness, death, and the material world...

, the United Pentecostal Church International
United Pentecostal Church International
The United Pentecostal Church International is a Pentecostal Christian denomination, headquartered in the St. Louis suburb of Hazelwood, Missouri. It is a part of the Oneness or "Apostolic" portion of the Pentecostal Movement, and was formed in 1945 by a merger of the former Pentecostal Church,...

, Theravada
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

, most Mahayana
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 schools of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, some Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 denominations of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, some sects of Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 (Five Precepts (Taoism)
Five Precepts (Taoism)
The Five Precepts in Taoism , constitute the basic code of ethics undertaken mainly by Taoist lay-cultivators. For Taoist monks and nuns, there are more advanced and stricter precepts...

 and Ten Precepts (Taoism)
Ten Precepts (Taoism)
The Ten Precepts of Taoism were outlined in a short text that appears in Dunhuang manuscripts . The precepts are the classical rules of medieval Taoism as applied to practitioners attaining the rank of Disciple of Pure Faith...

), and some sects of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

.

Many Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 denominations
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

 use wine in the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 or Communion
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 and permit alcohol in moderation. Other denominations use unfermented grape juice in Communion and either abstain from alcohol by choice or prohibit it outright.

Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 uses wine on Shabbat
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

 for Kiddush
Kiddush
Kiddush , literally, "sanctification," is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat and Jewish holidays.-Significance:...

 as well as in the Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

 ceremony, Purim
Purim
Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther .Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th...

, and other religious ceremonies. The drinking of alcohol is allowed. Some Jewish texts, e.g. the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, encourage moderate drinking on holidays (such as Purim
Purim
Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther .Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th...

) in order to make the occasion more joyous.

The Pali Canon
Pāli Canon
The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pāli language. It is the only completely surviving early Buddhist canon, and one of the first to be written down...

, the scripture of Theravada Buddhism, depicts refraining from alcohol as essential to moral conduct because alcohol causes a loss of mindfulness. The fifth of the Five Precepts states, "Surā-meraya-majja-pamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi." The English translation is, "I undertake to refrain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness." Technically this prohibition does not cover drugs other than alcohol. But its purport is not that alcohol is an evil but that the carelessness it produces creates bad karma. Therefore any substance (beyond tea or mild coffee) that affects one's mindfulness is considered to be covered by this prohibition.

History


Alcoholic beverages have been drunk by people around the world since ancient times. Reasons that have been proposed for drinking them include:
  • They are part of a people's standard diet
  • They are drunk for medical reasons
  • For their relaxant
    Recreational drug use
    Recreational drug use is the use of a drug, usually psychoactive, with the intention of creating or enhancing recreational experience. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal...

     effects
  • For their euphoric
    Euphoria
    Euphoria is an emotional and mental state defined as a sense of great elation and well being.Euphoria may also refer to:* Euphoria , a genus of scarab beetles* Euphoria, a genus name previously used for the longan and other trees...

     effects
  • For recreational purposes
    Recreational drug use
    Recreational drug use is the use of a drug, usually psychoactive, with the intention of creating or enhancing recreational experience. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal...

  • For artistic inspiration
    Artistic inspiration
    Inspiration refers to an unconscious burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or other artistic endeavour. Literally, the word means "breathed upon," and it has its origins in both Hellenism and Hebraism. The Greeks believed that inspiration came from the muses, as well as the gods Apollo and...

  • For their putative aphrodisiac
    Aphrodisiac
    An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. Throughout history, many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable and/or pleasurable...

     effects

Early references


Chemical analysis of traces absorbed and preserved in pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

 jars from the neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 village of Jiahu
Jiahu
Jiahu was the site of a Neolithic Yellow River settlement based in the central plains of ancient China, modern Wuyang, Henan Province. Archaeologists consider the site to be one of the earliest examples of the Peiligang culture. Settled from 7000 to 5800 BC, the site was later flooded and abandoned...

 in Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

 province in northern China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 has revealed that a mixed fermented beverage made from rice, honey, and fruit was being produced as early as 9,000 years ago. This is approximately the time when barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.

Recipes have been found on clay tablets and art in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 that show people using straws to drink beer from large vats and pots.

The Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 ayurvedic
Ayurveda
Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

 texts describe both the beneficial effects of alcoholic beverages and the consequences of intoxication and alcoholic diseases.

The medicinal
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 use of alcohol was mentioned in Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

ian and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian texts dating from about 2100 BC. The Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 recommends giving alcoholic drinks to those who are dying or depressed, so that they can forget their misery (Proverbs
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

 31:6-7).

Wine was consumed in Classical Greece
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 at breakfast or at symposia
Symposium
In ancient Greece, the symposium was a drinking party. Literary works that describe or take place at a symposium include two Socratic dialogues, Plato's Symposium and Xenophon's Symposium, as well as a number of Greek poems such as the elegies of Theognis of Megara...

, and in the 1st century BC it was part of the diet of most Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 citizens. Both the Greeks and the Romans generally drank diluted wine (the strength varying from 1 part wine and 1 part water, to 1 part wine and 4 parts water).

In Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, beer was drunk by the whole family. A triple fermentation process was used — the men drank the strongest beer, the women drank weaker, and children drank the weakest. A document from that time mentions nun
Nun
A nun is a woman who has taken vows committing her to live a spiritual life. She may be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent...

s having an allowance of six pints of ale each day. Cider
Cider
Cider or cyder is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% abv to 8.5% abv or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, such as Germany and America, cider may be termed "apple wine"...

 and pomace wine were also widely available; grape wine was the prerogative of the higher classes.

By the time the Europeans reached the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 in the 15th century, several native
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 civilizations had developed alcoholic beverages. According to a post-conquest Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 document, consumption of the local "wine" (pulque
Pulque
Pulque, or octli, is a milk-colored, somewhat viscous alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant, and is a traditional native beverage of Mexico. The drink’s history extends far back into the Mesoamerican period, when it was considered sacred, and its use was limited to...

) was generally restricted to religious ceremonies but was freely allowed to those who were older than 70 years.

The natives of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 produced a beer-like beverage from cassava
Cassava
Cassava , also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates...

 or maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, which had to be chewed before fermentation in order to turn the starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

 into sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

. (Beverages of this kind are known today as cauim
Cauim
Cauim is a traditional alcoholic beverage or beer of the indigenous peoples in Brazil since pre-Columbian times. It is still made today in remote areas throughout Panama and South America. Cauim is made by fermenting manioc , or maize, sometimes flavored with fruit juices...

or chicha
Chicha
For the musical genre, see Peruvian cumbiaChicha is a term used in some regions of Latin America for several varieties of fermented and non-fermented beverages, rather often to those derived from maize and similar non-alcoholic beverages...

.) This chewing technique was also used in ancient Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 to make sake from rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 and other starchy crops.

Distilled beverages


Distilled alcoholic beverages were first recorded in Europe in the mid-12th century. By the early 14th century, they had spread throughout the European continent
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

. They also spread eastward from Europe, mainly due to the Mongols, and began to be seen in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 no later than the 14th century.

Paracelsus
Paracelsus
Paracelsus was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist....

 gave alcohol its modern name, which is derived from an Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

ic word that means “finely divided” (a reference to distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

).

Alcohol in American history


In the early 19th century, Americans had inherited a hearty drinking tradition
Drinking culture
Drinking culture refers to the customs and practices associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Although alcoholic beverages and social attitudes toward drinking vary around the world, nearly every civilization has independently discovered the processes of brewing beer, fermenting...

. Many types of alcohol were consumed. One reason for this heavy drinking was attributed to an overabundance of corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 on the western frontier, which encouraged the widespread production of cheap whiskey. It was at this time that alcohol became an important part of the American diet. In the 1820s, Americans drank seven gallons of alcohol per person annually.

During the 19th century, Americans drank alcohol in two distinctive ways. One way was to drink small amounts daily and regularly, usually at home or alone. The other way consisted of communal binges. Groups of people would gather in a public place for elections, court sessions, militia musters, holiday celebrations, or neighborly festivities. Participants would typically drink until they became intoxicated.

Chemistry


Alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

is a general term for any organic compound
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

 in which a hydroxyl
Hydroxyl
A hydroxyl is a chemical group containing an oxygen atom covalently bonded with a hydrogen atom. In inorganic chemistry, the hydroxyl group is known as the hydroxide ion, and scientists and reference works generally use these different terms though they refer to the same chemical structure in...

 group
Functional group
In organic chemistry, functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reaction regardless of the size of the molecule it is a part of...

 (-O
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

H
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

) is bound to a carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

 atom, which in turn may be bound to other carbon atoms and further hydrogens. Alcohols other than ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 (such as propylene glycol
Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol, also called 1,2-propanediol or propane-1,2-diol, is an organic compound with formula C3H8O2 or HO-CH2-CHOH-CH3...

 and the sugar alcohol
Sugar alcohol
A sugar alcohol is a hydrogenated form of carbohydrate, whose carbonyl group has been reduced to a primary or secondary hydroxyl group . Sugar alcohols have the general formula Hn+1H, whereas sugars have HnHCO...

s) appear in food and beverages. Methanol
Methanol
Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH . It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor very similar to, but slightly sweeter than, ethanol...

 (one carbon), the propanol
Propanol
Propanol may refer to:*Propan-1-ol, or n-propanol: CH3CH2CH2OH, the most common meaning*Propan-2-ol, or isopropyl alcohol, or isopropanol: 2CHOH...

s (three carbons giving two isomers), and the butanol
Butanol
Butanol or butyl alcohol can refer to any of the four isomeric alcohols of formula C4H9OH:*n-Butanol, butan-1-ol, 1-butanol, n-butyl alcohol;*Isobutanol, 2-methylpropan-1-ol, isobutyl alcohol;...

s (four carbons, four isomers) are all commonly found alcohols — these three toxic alcohols should never be consumed in any form.

Ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 (CH3CH2OH) is the active ingredient in alcoholic beverages (although novelty inebriating drinks have been made from alternate alcohols such as 2-Methyl-2-butanol
2-Methyl-2-butanol
2-Methyl-2-butanol, also known as tert-amyl alcohol or amylene hydrate, is one of the isomers of amyl alcohol. It is a clear, colorless liquid with a strong odor of peppermint or camphor. In humans it possesses sedative, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant effects similar to ethanol through ingestion or...

). When produced for use in a beverage, ethanol is always produced by means of fermentation
Fermentation (food)
Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol...

, i.e., the metabolism
Metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

 of carbohydrate
Carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

s by certain species of yeast
Yeast
Yeasts are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described estimated to be only 1% of all fungal species. Most reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by an asymmetric division process called budding...

 in the absence of oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

.

Toxicology


In the liver, the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase
Alcohol dehydrogenase
Alcohol dehydrogenases are a group of dehydrogenase enzymes that occur in many organisms and facilitate the interconversion between alcohols and aldehydes or ketones with the reduction of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide...

 oxidizes ethanol into acetaldehyde
Acetaldehyde
Acetaldehyde is an organic chemical compound with the formula CH3CHO or MeCHO. It is one of the most important aldehydes, occurring widely in nature and being produced on a large scale industrially. Acetaldehyde occurs naturally in coffee, bread, and ripe fruit, and is produced by plants as part...

, which is then further oxidized into harmless acetic acid
Acetic acid
Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3CO2H . It is a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar , and has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell...

 by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase
Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase
Acetaldehyde dehydrogenases are dehydrogenase enzymes which catalyze the conversion of acetaldehyde into acetic acid. The oxidation of acetaldehyde to acetate can be summarized as follows:...

. Acetic acid is esterified with coenzyme A to produce acetyl CoA. Acetyl CoA carries the acetyl moiety into the citric acid cycle
Citric acid cycle
The citric acid cycle — also known as the tricarboxylic acid cycle , the Krebs cycle, or the Szent-Györgyi-Krebs cycle — is a series of chemical reactions which is used by all aerobic living organisms to generate energy through the oxidization of acetate derived from carbohydrates, fats and...

, which produces energy by oxidizing the acetyl moiety into carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

. Acetyl CoA can also be used for biosynthesis. Acetyl CoA is an intermediate that is common in the metabolism of sugars and fats; it is the product of glycolysis
Glycolysis
Glycolysis is the metabolic pathway that converts glucose C6H12O6, into pyruvate, CH3COCOO− + H+...

, the breakdown of glucose.

When compared to other alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

s, ethanol is only slightly toxic, with a lowest known lethal dose in humans of 1400 mg/kg (about 20 shots for a 100 kg person), and an of 9000 mg/kg (oral, rat). Nevertheless, accidental overdosing of alcoholic drinks, especially those containing a high percentage of alcohol, is risky, especially for women, lightweight persons, and children. These people have a smaller quantity of water in their bodies, so that the alcohol is less diluted. A blood alcohol concentration of 50 to 100 mg/dL may be considered legal drunkenness
Drunkenness
Alcohol intoxication is a physiological state that occurs when a person has a high level of ethanol in his or her blood....

 (laws vary by jurisdiction). The threshold of effects is at 22 mg/dL.

In the human body, ethanol affects the gamma-aminobutyric acid
Gamma-aminobutyric acid
γ-Aminobutyric acid is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. It plays a role in regulating neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system...

 (GABA) receptors and produces a depressant (neurochemical inhibitory) effect. Ethanol is similar to other sedative-hypnotics such as barbiturate
Barbiturate
Barbiturates are drugs that act as central nervous system depressants, and can therefore produce a wide spectrum of effects, from mild sedation to total anesthesia. They are also effective as anxiolytics, as hypnotics, and as anticonvulsants...

s and benzodiazepine
Benzodiazepine
A benzodiazepine is a psychoactive drug whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring...

s both in its effect on the GABAA receptor, although its pharmacological profile is not identical. It has anxiolytic
Anxiolytic
An anxiolytic is a drug used for the treatment of anxiety, and its related psychological and physical symptoms...

, anticonvulsant
Anticonvulsant
The anticonvulsants are a diverse group of pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of epileptic seizures. Anticonvulsants are also increasingly being used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, since many seem to act as mood stabilizers, and in the treatment of neuropathic pain. The goal of an...

, hypnotic
Hypnotic
Hypnotic drugs are a class of psychoactives whose primary function is to induce sleep and to be used in the treatment of insomnia and in surgical anesthesia...

, and sedative
Sedative
A sedative or tranquilizer is a substance that induces sedation by reducing irritability or excitement....

 actions similar to many other sedative-hypnotic drugs. Ethanol is also cross-tolerant with benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

Alcohols are toxicated
Toxication
Toxication is the process of metabolism in which the metabolite of a compound is more toxic than the parent drug or chemical. A parent drug or chemical that was previously non-toxic may be called a protoxin.Toxication may involve:...

 into the corresponding aldehyde
Aldehyde
An aldehyde is an organic compound containing a formyl group. This functional group, with the structure R-CHO, consists of a carbonyl center bonded to hydrogen and an R group....

s and then into the corresponding carboxylic acid
Carboxylic acid
Carboxylic acids are organic acids characterized by the presence of at least one carboxyl group. The general formula of a carboxylic acid is R-COOH, where R is some monovalent functional group...

s. These metabolic products cause a poisoning and acidosis
Acidosis
Acidosis is an increased acidity in the blood and other body tissue . If not further qualified, it usually refers to acidity of the blood plasma....

. In the case of alcohols other than ethanol, the aldehydes and carboxylic acids are poisonous, and the acidosis can be lethal. In contrast, fatalities from ethanol are mainly found in extreme doses associated with the induction of unconsciousness or chronic addiction (alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

).

Hangover


Excessive consumption of ethanol may cause a delayed effect that is called hangover
Hangover
A hangover describes the sum of unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. The most commonly reported characteristics of a hangover include headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, lethargy, dysphoria, diarrhea and thirst, typically after the...

. Various factors contribute to it, including the toxication of ethanol to acetaldehyde
Acetaldehyde
Acetaldehyde is an organic chemical compound with the formula CH3CHO or MeCHO. It is one of the most important aldehydes, occurring widely in nature and being produced on a large scale industrially. Acetaldehyde occurs naturally in coffee, bread, and ripe fruit, and is produced by plants as part...

, the direct toxic effects and toxication of impurities called congener
Congener
Congener has several different meanings depending on the field in which it is used. Colloquially, it is used to mean a person or thing like another, in character or action.-Biology:In biology, congeners are organisms within the same genus...

s, and dehydration
Dehydration
In physiology and medicine, dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism...

. The hangover starts after the euphoric effects of ethanol have subsided, typically in the night and morning after alcoholic drinks were consumed. However, the blood alcohol concentration may still be substantial and above the limit imposed for automobile drivers and operators of heavy equipment. The effects of a hangover subside over time. Various treatments to cure hangover have been suggested, many of them pseudoscientific
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

.

The raw materials of alcoholic beverages


The names of some alcoholic beverages are determined by their base material. In general, a beverage fermented from a starch-heavy mash
Mashing
In brewing and distilling, mashing is the process of combining a mix of milled grain , known as the "grain bill", and water, known as "liquor", and heating this mixture...

 (e.g. grain or potatoes) will be called a beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

. If the fermented mash
Mashing
In brewing and distilling, mashing is the process of combining a mix of milled grain , known as the "grain bill", and water, known as "liquor", and heating this mixture...

 is distilled, then the beverage is a spirit
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

.

Wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 and brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

 are made only from grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s. If an alcoholic beverage is made from another kind of fruit, it is distinguished as fruit wine
Fruit wine
Fruit wines are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of base ingredients ; they may also have additional flavours taken from fruits, flowers, and herbs. This definition is sometimes broadened to include any fermented alcoholic beverage except beer...

 or fruit brandy. The kind of fruit must be specified, such as "cherry brandy" or "plum wine."

Beer is made from barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 or a blend
Blend
In linguistics, a blend is a word formed from parts of two or more other words. These parts are sometimes, but not always, morphemes.-Linguistics:...

 of several grains.

Whiskey (or whisky) is made from grain or a blend of several grains. The type of whiskey (scotch
Scotch whisky
Scotch whisky is whisky made in Scotland.Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories: Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky , Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, and Blended Scotch Whisky.All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three...

, rye, bourbon
Bourbon whiskey
Bourbon is a type of American whiskey – a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. The name of the spirit derives from its historical association with an area known as Old Bourbon, around what is now Bourbon County, Kentucky . It has been produced since the 18th century...

, or corn
Corn whiskey
Corn whiskey is an American liquor made from a mash made of at least 80 percent corn.The whiskey is typically run off to high proof and cut to not less than 40 percent alcohol by volume. It does not have to be aged; but if so, it is aged in new uncharred oak barrels or in barrels previously used...

) is determined by the primary grain.

Vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

 is distilled from fermented grain or from potatoes. It is highly distilled so that it will contain less of the flavor of its base material. Gin
Gin
Gin is a spirit which derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries . Although several different styles of gin have existed since its origins, it is broadly differentiated into two basic legal categories...

 is a similar distillate
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

 but it is flavored by juniper berries
Juniper berry
A juniper berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers. It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. The cones from a handful of species, especially Juniperus communis, are used as a spice,...

 and sometimes by other herb
Herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

s as well.

In the United States and Canada, cider often means unfermented apple juice
Apple juice
Apple juice is a fruit juice manufactured by the maceration and pressing of apples. The resulting expelled juice may be further treated by enzymatic and centrifugal clarification to remove the starch and pectin, which holds fine particulate in suspension, and then pasteurized for packaging in...

 (sometimes called sweet cider), and fermented apple juice is called hard cider
Cider
Cider or cyder is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% abv to 8.5% abv or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, such as Germany and America, cider may be termed "apple wine"...

. In the United Kingdom, cider
Cider
Cider or cyder is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% abv to 8.5% abv or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, such as Germany and America, cider may be termed "apple wine"...

refers to the alcoholic beverage, and in Australia the term is ambiguous.

Applejack
Applejack (beverage)
Applejack is a strong alcoholic beverage produced from apples, popular in the American colonial period.Applejack was historically made by concentrating hard cider, either by the traditional method of freeze distillation or by true evaporative distillation. The term applejack derives from jacking, a...

 is sometimes made by means of freeze distillation
Fractional freezing
Fractional freezing is a process used in process engineering and chemistry to separate two liquids with different melting points. It can be done by partial melting of a solid, for example in zone refining of silicon or metals, or by partial crystallization of a liquid, for example "freeze...

.

Grains

Source Name of fermented beverage Name of distilled beverage
barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 
beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

, ale
Ale
Ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a warm fermentation with a strain of brewers' yeast. The yeast will ferment the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste...

, barley wine
Barley wine
Barley wine or Barleywine is a beer style of strong ale originating in England. The first beer to be marketed as Barley Wine was Bass No. 1 Ale, around 1870...

Scotch whisky
Scotch whisky
Scotch whisky is whisky made in Scotland.Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories: Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky , Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, and Blended Scotch Whisky.All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three...

, Irish whiskey
Irish whiskey
Irish whiskey is whiskey made in Ireland.Key regulations defining Irish whiskey and its production are established by the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980, and are relatively simple...

, shōchū (mugijōchū) (Japan)
rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

 
rye beer
Rye beer
Rye beer refers to any beer in which rye is substituted for some portion of the barley malt.One example of this is roggenbier which is a specialty beer produced with up to sixty percent rye malt...

, kvass
Kvass
Kvass, kvas, quass or gira, gėra is a fermented beverage made from black...

rye whiskey, vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

 (Poland), Korn
Korn (liquor)
Korn is a German colorless spirit that is usually made from fermented rye but may also be made from corn, barley, or wheat. Korn differs from vodka in that it is less rigorously filtered, which leaves more of the cereal taste in the finished spirit.Korn is the cheapest kind of spirit available in...

 (Germany)
corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 
chicha
Chicha
For the musical genre, see Peruvian cumbiaChicha is a term used in some regions of Latin America for several varieties of fermented and non-fermented beverages, rather often to those derived from maize and similar non-alcoholic beverages...

, corn beer
Chicha
For the musical genre, see Peruvian cumbiaChicha is a term used in some regions of Latin America for several varieties of fermented and non-fermented beverages, rather often to those derived from maize and similar non-alcoholic beverages...

, tesguino
Tesguino
Tesgüino is a corn beer made by the Tarahumara Indians of Sierra Madre in Mexico. The Tarahumara regard the beer as sacred, and it forms a significant part of their society...

Bourbon whiskey
Bourbon whiskey
Bourbon is a type of American whiskey – a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. The name of the spirit derives from its historical association with an area known as Old Bourbon, around what is now Bourbon County, Kentucky . It has been produced since the 18th century...

; and vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

 (rarely)
sorghum
Sorghum
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents...

 
burukutu (Nigeria), pito (Ghana), merisa (southern Sudan), bilibili (Chad, Central African Republic, Cameroon) maotai
Maotai
Maotai, or Moutai , is a Chinese liquor, or baijiu.It is produced in the town of Maotai , in the city of Renhuai, Guizhou province, Southwest China. It is believed that the town of Maotai possesses a unique climate and vegetation that contributes to the taste of the drink...

, gaoliang, certain other types of baijiu
Baijiu
Baijiu , or shaojiu is a Chinese distilled alcoholic beverage. The name baijiu literally means "white liquor," "white alcohol" or "white spirits". Baijiu is often translated as "wine" or "white wine"...

 (China).
wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

 
wheat beer
Wheat beer
Wheat beer is a beer that is brewed with a large proportion of wheat. Wheat beers often also contain a significant proportion of malted barley. Wheat beers are usually top-fermented...

horilka
Horilka
Horilka is a Ukrainian alcoholic beverage. The word horilka may also be used in a generic sense in the Ukrainian language to mean whisky, or other strong spirits and etymologically is similar to the Ukrainian word for burning - hority. Home-distilled horilka, moonshine, is called samogon ....

 (Ukraine), vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

, wheat whisky
Whisky
Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn...

, weizenkorn (Germany)
rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 
beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

, brem
Brem
Brem is the traditional fermented food or fermented beverage from Indonesia. There are two types of brem, brem cake that usually eaten as snack from Madiun and Wonogiri, and brem beverage made of rice wine from Bali and Nusa Tenggara, but mostly known from Bali...

 (Bali), huangjiu
Huangjiu
Huangjiu is a type of Chinese beverage brewed directly from grains such as rice, millet, or wheat. Unlike baijiu, such liquors are not distilled, and contain less than 20% alcohol, due to the inhibition of fermentation by ethanol at that concentration...

 and choujiu
Choujiu
Choujiu is a type of Chinese fermented alcoholic beverage brewed from glutinous rice. It is very thick and has a milky white color, which is sometimes compared to jade....

 (China), Ruou gao (Vietnam), sake (Japan), sonti (India), makgeolli (Korea), tuak
Tuak
Tuak is an alcoholic beverage made of fermented rice, yeast and sugar and drank in parts of Indonesia such as Sumatra, Sulawesi, Penang Islands, Borneo and East Malaysia. In these areas it is often referred to as rice wine...

 (Borneo Island), thwon
Thwon
Thwon is a type of alcoholic beverage. It is prepared on festivals and special occasions by the Newars. It is brewed from rice. This is a kind of Country Beer.Generally we can also called Rice beer.-Types:It is of two types-* Red* White...

 (Nepal)
aila
Aila
-Places:*A region occupied by the Legio X Fretensis*Aila, Estonia, village in Estonia*A special kind of alcoholic beverage made by the Newa community of Nepal.-Other:*Ailas, a dynasty of kings of ancient India...

(Nepal), rice baijiu
Rice baijiu
Rice baijiu , also known as rice fragrance baijiu , is a variety of distilled beverage popular in China. Unlike other kinds of baijiu, it is distilled mainly from rice rather than from sorghum or other grains...

 (China), shōchū (komejōchū) and awamori
Awamori
Awamori is an alcoholic beverage indigenous to and unique to Okinawa, Japan. It is made from rice, and is not a direct product of brewing but of distillation ....

 (Japan), soju
Soju
Soju is a distilled beverage native to Korea. Its taste is comparable to vodka, though often slightly sweeter due to sugars added in the manufacturing process, and more commonly consumed neat.Most brands of soju are made in South Korea...

 (Korea)
millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

 
millet beer
Millet beer
Millet beer, also known as Bantu beer, kaffir beer, or opaque beer, is an alcoholic beverage made from malted millet. This type of beer is common throughout Africa. Related African drinks include maize beer and sorghum beer....

 (Sub-Saharan Africa), tongba
Tongba
Tongba is a millet-based alcoholic beverage found in the far eastern mountainous region of Nepal and the neighbouring Darjeeling and Sikkim districts of India. It is the traditional and indigenous drink of the Limbu people of eastern Nepal....

 (Nepal, Tibet), boza
Boza
Boza, also bosa , is a popular fermented beverage in Kazakhstan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, parts of Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and also Poland and Lithuania...

 (the Balkans, Turkey)
buckwheat
Buckwheat
Buckwheat refers to a variety of plants in the dicot family Polygonaceae: the Eurasian genus Fagopyrum, the North American genus Eriogonum, and the Northern Hemisphere genus Fallopia. Either of the latter two may be referred to as "wild buckwheat"...

 
shōchū (sobajōchū) (Japan)

Fruit juice

Source Name of fermented beverage Name of distilled beverage
juice
Juice
Juice is the liquid that is naturally contained in fruit or vegetable tissue.Juice is prepared by mechanically squeezing or macerating fruit or vegetable flesh without the application of heat or solvents. For example, orange juice is the liquid extract of the fruit of the orange tree...

 of grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s,
wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

, Cognac
Cognac (drink)
Cognac , named after the town of Cognac in France, is a variety of brandy. It is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name, in the French Departements of Charente and Charente-Maritime....

 (France), Vermouth
Vermouth
Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with various dry ingredients. The modern versions of the beverage were first produced around the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Italy and France...

, Armagnac
Armagnac (drink)
Armagnac is a distinctive kind of brandy or eau de vie produced in the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France. It is distilled from wine usually made from a blend of Armagnac grapes, including Baco 22A, Colombard, and Ugni Blanc, using column stills rather than the pot stills used in the...

 (France), Branntwein (Germany), pisco
Pisco
Pisco is a colorless or yellowish-to-amber colored grape brandy produced in winemaking regions of Chile and Peru. Pisco was developed by Spanish settlers in the 16th century as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was being imported from Spain...

 (Chile and Peru), Rakia
Rakia
Rakia is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by distillation of fermented fruit; it is a popular beverage throughout the Balkans. Its alcohol content is normally 40% ABV, but home-produced rakia can be stronger . Prepečenica is double-distilled rakia which has an alcohol content that may...

 (The Balkans, Turkey), singani
Singani
Singani is a grape Brandy made in Bolivia, similar to pisco, distilled from a variety of the muscatel grape grown in southern Bolivia. It is Bolivia's national liquor...

 (Bolivia), Arak
Arak (distilled beverage)
Arak or Araq , is a highly alcoholic spirit from the anis drinks family. It is a clear, colorless, unsweetened anise-flavoured distilled alcoholic drink...

 (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan), törkölypálinka
Törkölypálinka
Törkölypálinka is a Hungarian pomace brandy, an alcoholic beverage produced by distillation from grape residues left over from winemaking. One of the oldest types of pálinka, it helps digestion, and is usually consumed in small quantities after meals.Under the 2008. LXXIII...

 (Hungary)
juice of apples  cider
Cider
Cider or cyder is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% abv to 8.5% abv or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, such as Germany and America, cider may be termed "apple wine"...

 (U.S.: "hard cider"), apfelwein
Apfelwein
Cider in Germany is called Apfelwein , as the German language has not used the word cider. It is also regionally known as ebbelwoi, äppler, stöffsche, apfelmost , viez , and saurer most . It has an alcohol content of 5.5%–7% and a tart, sour taste...

applejack
Applejack (beverage)
Applejack is a strong alcoholic beverage produced from apples, popular in the American colonial period.Applejack was historically made by concentrating hard cider, either by the traditional method of freeze distillation or by true evaporative distillation. The term applejack derives from jacking, a...

 (or apple brandy), calvados
Calvados (spirit)
Calvados is an apple brandy from the French région of Basse-Normandie or Lower Normandy.-History:Apple orchards and brewers are mentioned as far back as the 8th century by Charlemagne. The first known Norman distillation was carried out by "Lord" de Gouberville in 1554, and the guild for cider...

, cider
juice of pear
Pear
The pear is any of several tree species of genus Pyrus and also the name of the pomaceous fruit of these trees. Several species of pear are valued by humans for their edible fruit, but the fruit of other species is small, hard, and astringent....

s
perry
Perry
Perry is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented pears. Perry has been common for centuries in Britain, particularly in the Three Counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and in parts of south Wales; and France, especially Normandy and Anjou.In more recent years, commercial...

, or pear cider; poiré
Poiré
Poiré as a surname may refer to:* Alain Poiré , French film producer* Emmanuel Poiré, or Caran d'Ache , French satirist* Jean Poiret, born Jean Poiré , French actor and director...

 (France)
Poire Williams
Poire Williams
Poire Williams is a colorless eau de vie made from the Williams pear. It is generally served chilled as an after-dinner drink.Many producers of Poire Williams include an entire pear inside each bottle. This is achieved by attaching the bottle to a budding pear tree so that the pear will grow inside...

, pear brandy, Eau-de-vie (France), pálinka
Palinka
Pálinka or Palincă is a traditional fruit brandy made in regions of the Carpathian Basin. Modern commercial production occurs in Hungary, Romania and parts of Austria. It is commonly made from the fermentation of plums, but other fruits used include apricots, apples, pears, peaches and cherries...

 (Hungary)
juice of plum
Plum
A plum or gage is a stone fruit tree in the genus Prunus, subgenus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera in the shoots having a terminal bud and solitary side buds , the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one...

s
plum wine  slivovitz
Slivovitz
Slivovitz or Slivovitsais a distilled beverage made from Damson plums. It is frequently called plum brandy, and in the Balkans is part of the category of drinks called rakia...

, țuică
Tuica
Ţuică is a traditional Romanian spirit of somewhere in between 45%-60% alcohol by volume. It is usually made from plums.Ţuică is the official name for the drink when it is prepared only from plums...

, umeshu
Umeshu
is a Japanese liqueur made from steeping ume fruits in and sugar. It has a sweet, sour taste, and an alcohol content of 10-15%. The taste and aroma of umeshu can appeal to even those people who normally dislike alcohol. Famous brands of umeshu include Choya and Takara Shuzo...

, pálinka
Palinka
Pálinka or Palincă is a traditional fruit brandy made in regions of the Carpathian Basin. Modern commercial production occurs in Hungary, Romania and parts of Austria. It is commonly made from the fermentation of plums, but other fruits used include apricots, apples, pears, peaches and cherries...

juice of pineapple
Pineapple
Pineapple is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries. It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone. The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae...

s
tepache
Tepache
The tepache is a drink made out of the flesh and rind of the pineapple, sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon and sometimes beer. Tepache does not have a high quantity of alcohol, since it is left to ferment for only about three days. The alcohol comes mostly from the addition of a small amount...

 (Mexico)
banana
Banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

s or plantain
Plantain
Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana...

s
Chuoi hot (Vietnam), urgwagwa (Uganda, Rwanda), mbege
Mbege
thumb|220px|alt=Mbege being poured|right| Mbege a traditional chagga brewMbege, also known as banana beer, is a traditional brew of the Chagga ethnic group of Tanzania. It is an alcoholic drink made from fermented bananas. The process of making of mbege is labor intensive and time consuming as the...

 (with millet malt; Tanzania), kasikisi (with sorghum malt; Democratic Republic of the Congo)
gouqi  gouqi jiu
Gouqi jiu
Gouqi jiu is a variety of Chinese alcoholic beverage made from wolfberry .-Variations:There are three distinct kinds of gouqi jiu: distilled, fermented, and those produced by steeping wolfberries in another kind of baijiu. There is also a beer made from wolfberries.-History:Gouqi jiu has a long...

 (China)
gouqi jiu
Gouqi jiu
Gouqi jiu is a variety of Chinese alcoholic beverage made from wolfberry .-Variations:There are three distinct kinds of gouqi jiu: distilled, fermented, and those produced by steeping wolfberries in another kind of baijiu. There is also a beer made from wolfberries.-History:Gouqi jiu has a long...

 (China)
coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

 
Toddy (Sri Lanka) arrack, lambanog (Sri Lanka, India, Philippines)
ginger
Ginger
Ginger is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family . Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal....

 with sugar, ginger with raisins
ginger ale
Ginger ale
Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. Dr. Thomas Cantrell, an American apothecary and surgeon, claimed to have invented ginger ale and marketed it with beverage manufacturer Grattan and Company. Grattan embossed the slogan "The Original Makers of Ginger Ale" on its bottles...

, ginger beer
Ginger beer
Ginger beer is a carbonated drink that is flavored primarily with ginger and sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners.-History:Brewed ginger beer originated in England in the mid-18th century and became popular in Britain, the United States, and Canada, reaching a peak of popularity in the...

, ginger wine
Ginger wine
Ginger Wine is a fortified wine made from a fermented blend of ground ginger and raisins that was first produced in England.-History:The first documented appearance of Ginger Wine occurred with the foundation of 'The Finsbury Distilling Company' based in the City of London in 1740...

Myrica rubra
Myrica rubra
Myrica rubra, also called yangmei , yamamomo , Chinese Bayberry, Japanese Bayberry, Red Bayberry,Yumberry, or Chinese strawberry tree is a subtropical tree grown for its sweet, crimson to dark purple-red, edible fruit.- Description :It is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree...

yangmei jiu (China) yangmei jiu (China)
pomace
Pomace
Pomace , or marc , is the solid remains of grapes, olives, or other fruit after pressing for juice or oil. It contains the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the fruit....

 
pomace wine Raki
Rakia
Rakia is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by distillation of fermented fruit; it is a popular beverage throughout the Balkans. Its alcohol content is normally 40% ABV, but home-produced rakia can be stronger . Prepečenica is double-distilled rakia which has an alcohol content that may...

/Ouzo
Ouzo
Ouzo is an anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus, and a symbol of Greek culture.-History:Traditionally, tsipouro is said to have been the pet project of a group of 14th century monks living in a monastery on holy Mount Athos. One version of it is flavored with anise...

/Pastis
Pastis
Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur and apéritif from France, typically containing 40–45% alcohol by volume, although alcohol-free varieties exist.-Origins:...

/Sambuca
Sambuca
Sambuca is an Italian anise-flavoured, usually colourless, liqueur. Its most common variety is often referred to as white sambuca to differentiate it from other varieties that are deep blue in colour or bright red ....

 (Turkey/Greece/France/Italy), tsipouro
Tsipouro
Tsipouro is a pomace brandy from Greece and in particular Thessaly , Epirus, Macedonia, Mani Peninsula, and the island of Crete . Tsipouro is a strong distilled spirit containing approximately 45 percent alcohol by volume and is produced from the pomace...

/tsikoudia
Tsikoudia
Tsikoudia is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Cretan origin that contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume. Tsikoudia is made by distilling of pomace, i.e., the pieces of grapes that were pressed for the winemaking process...

 (Greece), grappa
Grappa
Grappa is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume...

 (Italy), Trester (Germany), marc (France), zivania
Zivania
Zivania or zivana is a Cypriot alcoholic beverage. Zivania is a distillate produced from the pomace of grapes that were pressed during the wine-making process mixed with local dry wines produced from local grape varieties of Cyprus such as Xynisteri and Mavro...

 (Cyprus), aguardente (Portugal), tescovină (Romania), Arak
Arak (distilled beverage)
Arak or Araq , is a highly alcoholic spirit from the anis drinks family. It is a clear, colorless, unsweetened anise-flavoured distilled alcoholic drink...

 (Iraq)

Vegetables

Source Name of fermented beverage Name of distilled beverage
juice of ginger
Ginger
Ginger is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family . Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal....

 root
ginger beer (Botswana)
potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

 
potato beer horilka
Horilka
Horilka is a Ukrainian alcoholic beverage. The word horilka may also be used in a generic sense in the Ukrainian language to mean whisky, or other strong spirits and etymologically is similar to the Ukrainian word for burning - hority. Home-distilled horilka, moonshine, is called samogon ....

 (Ukraine), vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

 (Poland and Germany), akvavit
Akvavit
Akvavit or aquavit is a traditional flavoured spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia, where it has been produced since the 15th century....

 (Scandinavia), poitín (poteen)
Poitín
Poitín , anglicised as poteen, is a traditional Irish distilled, highly alcoholic beverage . Poitín was traditionally distilled in a small pot still and the term is a diminutive of the Irish word pota, meaning "pot"...

 (Ireland)
sweet potato
Sweet potato
The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of...

 
shōchū (imojōchū) (Japan), soju
Soju
Soju is a distilled beverage native to Korea. Its taste is comparable to vodka, though often slightly sweeter due to sugars added in the manufacturing process, and more commonly consumed neat.Most brands of soju are made in South Korea...

 (Korea)
cassava
Cassava
Cassava , also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates...

/manioc/yuca
nihamanchi (South America), kasiri
Kasiri
Kasiri is an alcoholic beverage made from cassava by Amerindians in Suriname and Guyana. The roots of the cassava plant are grated, diluted in water, and pressed in a cylindrical basketwork press to extract the juice. The extracted juice is fermented to produce kasiri...

 (Sub-Saharan Africa), chicha
Chicha
For the musical genre, see Peruvian cumbiaChicha is a term used in some regions of Latin America for several varieties of fermented and non-fermented beverages, rather often to those derived from maize and similar non-alcoholic beverages...

 (Ecuador)
juice of sugarcane
Sugarcane
Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species of tall perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum . Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres tall...

, or molasses
Molasses
Molasses is a viscous by-product of the processing of sugar cane, grapes or sugar beets into sugar. The word molasses comes from the Portuguese word melaço, which ultimately comes from mel, the Latin word for "honey". The quality of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar cane or sugar beet,...

basi
Basi
Basi is a fermented alcoholic beverage made of sugarcane produced in the Philippines and Guyana.- Philippines :]]Basi is the local beverage of Ilocos in northern Luzon in San Ildefonso where it has been consumed since before the Spanish conquest. In the Philippines, commercial basi is produced by...

, betsa-betsa (regional)
rum
Rum
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels...

 (Caribbean), pinga
Pinga
In Inuit mythology, Pinga was a goddess of the hunt, fertility and medicine. She was also the psychopomp, bringing souls of the newly-dead to Adlivun, the underworld....

 or cachaça
Cachaça
Cachaça is a liquor made from fermented sugarcane.It is the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil. It is also known as aguardente, pinga, caninha and many other names...

 (Brasil), aguardiente
Aguardiente
Aguardiente , aiguardent , aguardente , and augardente are generic terms for alcoholic beverages that contain between 29% and 60% alcohol by volume...

, guaro
Guaro (drink)
This page is about the drink, for other uses, see GuaroGuaro is the name of a kind of liquor in many places in South and Central America. It is a clear liquor made from sugar cane, and has a slightly sweeter taste than comparable liquors...

juice of agave
Agave
Agave is a genus of monocots. The plants are perennial, but each rosette flowers once and then dies ; they are commonly known as the century plant....

 
pulque
Pulque
Pulque, or octli, is a milk-colored, somewhat viscous alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant, and is a traditional native beverage of Mexico. The drink’s history extends far back into the Mesoamerican period, when it was considered sacred, and its use was limited to...

 
tequila
Tequila
Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands of the western Mexican state of Jalisco....

, mezcal
Mezcal
Mezcal, or mescal, is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant native to Mexico. The word mezcal comes from Nahuatl metl and ixcalli which mean 'oven cooked agave.'...

, raicilla
Raicilla
Raicilla is a distilled spirit, originating in the south western portion of the Mexican state of Jalisco, which is similar to Tequila and Mezcal as it is also a product of the agave plant....


Other

Source Name of fermented beverage Name of distilled beverage
sap of palm
Arecaceae
Arecaceae or Palmae , are a family of flowering plants, the only family in the monocot order Arecales. There are roughly 202 currently known genera with around 2600 species, most of which are restricted to tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates...

 
coyol wine
Coyol wine
Coyol wine is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from the sap of coyol palms. It has been made and consumed in Southern Mexico for thousands of years. It is primarily made and consumed in certain regions of Central America like Nicaragua and Honduras. In order to produce the wine, the trees are...

 (Central America), tembo (Sub-Saharan Africa), toddy
Palm wine
Palm wine also called Palm Toddy also called "Kallu" written in Malayalam and கள்ளு in Tamil or simply Toddy is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyra, and coconut palms...

 (Indian subcontinent)
sap of Arenga pinnata
Arenga pinnata
Arenga pinnata is an economically important feather palm native to tropical Asia, from eastern India east to Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines in the east...

, Coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

, Borassus flabellifer
Borassus flabellifer
Borassus flabellifer, the Asian Palmyra palm, Toddy palm, Sugar palm, or Cambodian palm, is native to South and Southeast Asia, in the Indomalaya ecozone...

 
Tuak
Tuak
Tuak is an alcoholic beverage made of fermented rice, yeast and sugar and drank in parts of Indonesia such as Sumatra, Sulawesi, Penang Islands, Borneo and East Malaysia. In these areas it is often referred to as rice wine...

 (Indonesia)
Arrack
Arrack
Arrack is a distilled alcoholic drink typically produced in South Asia and South East Asia, made from either the fermented sap of coconut flowers, sugarcane, grain or fruit depending upon the country of origin...

honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

 
mead
Mead
Mead , also called honey wine, is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water. It may also be produced by fermenting a solution of water and honey with grain mash, which is strained immediately after fermentation...

, horilka
Horilka
Horilka is a Ukrainian alcoholic beverage. The word horilka may also be used in a generic sense in the Ukrainian language to mean whisky, or other strong spirits and etymologically is similar to the Ukrainian word for burning - hority. Home-distilled horilka, moonshine, is called samogon ....

 (Ukraine), tej
Tej
Tej is a mead or honey wine that is brewed and consumed in Ethiopia. It is flavored with the powdered leaves and twigs of gesho , a hops-like bittering agent that is a species of buckthorn...

 (Ethiopia)
distilled mead (mead brandy or honey brandy)
milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

 
kumis
Kumis
Kumis, also spelled kumiss or koumiss in English is a fermented dairy product traditionally made from mare's milk. The drink remains important to the peoples of the Central Asian steppes, of Turkic and Mongol origin: Bashkirs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Yakuts, Mongols and Kalmyks...

, kefir
Kefir
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that originated with shepherds of the North Caucasus region, who discovered that fresh milk carried in leather pouches would occasionally ferment into an effervescent beverage...

, blaand
Blaand
Blaand is a fermented milk product made from whey. It is similar in alcohol content to wine.-History:Blaand was introduced to Scotland by Vikings....

 
arkhi (Mongolia)
sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 
kilju
Kilju
Kilju , in English also known as sugar wine, is a Finnish home-made alcoholic beverage made from sugar, yeast, and water. Its alcohol content is usually 15%–17% ABV....

 and mead
Mead
Mead , also called honey wine, is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water. It may also be produced by fermenting a solution of water and honey with grain mash, which is strained immediately after fermentation...

 or sima (Finland)
shōchū (kokutō shōchū): made from brown sugar (Japan)

External links