History of beer  

The oldest references to the existence of beer were left to us by the ancient culture of the Sumerians. These were on clay tablets with cuneiform script and are over 6000 years old. It is assumed that the origins of the beverage lay even further back.

The development of beer probably began in the Early Stone Age when man first started to harvest grain and store it for later use.

Cavemen began to boil and ferment grain in water. They produced a beverage that was at the same time nutritious, refreshing and kept well. For good reason it was called "liquid bread," as its origins are inseparable from the cultivation of cereals and grains. There was a law in the Babylonian kingdom that provided for the drowning of a brewer in his own brew if it were judged undrinkable. Several types of beer were produced in Egypt that were intended for the different strata of society.

The pale beer was meant for the poor. The beers that were brewed with ginger, dates or honey were reserved for the highest dignitaries. Beer was considered medicinal and was used to treat skin and eye illnesses. Very early on it was the duty of women to produce the nutritious drink while the men went hunting or made war. At the time of the Babylonians there already were "beer taverns."

The spread of Christianity in Europe brought with it the rise of wine and subsequently women lost their importance in the brewing industry. While women continue to be the ones that produce beer in traditional societies, such as in Mexico and South America from corn (mais), in the Amazon region from manioc, and in Africa from sorghum or green bananas, further developed societies are more likely to typically leave this activity to men.