It has been said that alcohol is as old as man is. Long before Biblical times, the stone-aged man may have discovered the intoxicating effects and pleasant taste grapes left to ferment offered. The British Isles were introduced to wine as early as the first-century, but they were already busy consuming another alcoholic beverage before this time. On special occasions they would consume a kind of fermented liquor, made of barley, honey of apples', clearly referring to ale, mead and cider. Ale changed in taste and recipe over the next 16 centuries and other alcoholic beverages, like gin, began to rise in consumption. By the 18th century annual consumption of spirits in London was about 14 gallons a head, but the average Londoner drank nearly ninety gallons of beer a year. Ale-houses and other drinking establishments continued to rise with the increase in consumption. The government responded to this surge in drinking by raising prices and passing legislation to exercise control over this new industry. The alcohol industry responded and the volume of spirits manufactured actually rose enormously. By the early 19th century trade further increased the power of alcohol in society. Brewers and establishments that specialized in the sale of alcohol were able to import from Scotland and Ireland. New restrictions were put on alcohol consumption as the 19th century rolled in. Drinking beginning to be looked down upon in many circles instead of celebrated as it was in the prior century. Times were changing and so was alcohol.



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