I found this on Vox and thought is was pretty rad.
The history of alcohol is as long and complicated as the history of human civilization. While a lot of people love their alcohol, very few are familiar with its past and the risks involved with the tasty beverages. Here is a glimpse into alcohol, its history, and its effects on nearly every aspect of human life.
Alcohol and its history
1. The earliest records of brewing come from Mesopotamia
The earliest records of how to make beverages derived from malted cereal grains, including beer, come from the Sumerians, although there's some uncertainty about whether these beverages actually contained alcohol. The Sumerian poem "Hymn of Ninkasi" glorified the process, praising the goddess believed to be responsible for brewing. Since the Sumerians, virtually every advanced civilization, from ancient Greece to modern Mongolia, has taken up drinking.
2. The Code of Hammurabi regulated alcohol transactions
The Babylonian Code of Hammurabi regulated drinking establishments, although it didn't mention drunkenness. According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, the code required fair transactions — under the threat of drowning — involving beer. The law also punished tavern owners who allowed conspirators against the state to meet within their business. It also banned priestesses from opening a tavern. (Babylonians didn't have a problem with priestesses drinking, but they objected to them opening a tavern.)
3. The 13 colonies imported wine and exported rum
Colonial America, particularly New England, was known for its production of high-quality rum — and its exports to Europe and the rest of the world made up a huge part of the early Colonial economy. In return, colonies imported a lot of wine from Europe, which was similarly known for some of the best wine in the world.
4. Before Prohibition, most states banned alcohol sales
In 1920, the United States passed the 18th Amendment to ban the production, sale, transportation, import, and export of alcohol. But in 1917, before enough states ratified the constitutional amendment, all but three states already prohibited alcohol or let local governments restrict it, according to family research firm Mocavo.
Prohibition is widely considered a policy failure by historians. Economists Jeffrey Miron and Jeffrey Zwiebel estimate alcohol consumption was 30 to 40 percent lower a few years after Prohibition began. But Prohibition also led to a flourishing underground market that financed violent criminal organizations, leading to increases in violent crime, according to Miron. By 1933, public outcry against Prohibition led to the policy's repeal through the 21st Amendment.
5. 17 states run their own alcohol stores
Following the end of Prohibition in 1933, states kept the ability to permit or ban alcohol sales. In time, all states legalized alcohol — but how they did so differed. By the latest count, 17 states maintain an alcohol monopoly that lets them tightly regulate and restrict production and sales in state-controlled establishments. The rest of the states privatized sales, with Washington most recently doing so in 2012. Previous research indicates that state-controlled liquor stores tend to produce better public health outcomes through higher prices, reduced access to youth, and lower overall levels of use — which is why some experts want the same approach with marijuana as it's legalized in more states.
6. Very few counties are dry
After Prohibition, counties also kept the power to ban alcohol sales within their borders. As this map shows, very few counties have wielded that power outside of the South. While the dry counties ban alcohol sales altogether, the semi-dry counties only prohibit sales depending on city or town laws or the type of alcohol in question.
7. The percentage of Americans who drink has been very stable
Since the 1940s, two-thirds of Americans have steadily identified as alcohol drinkers. But that doesn't mean American drinking habits haven't changed over time: Americans in 2014 told Gallup they drank about 4.1 drinks on average in the past week, up from 2.8 in 1996 and down from 5.1 in 2003. In the same time period, Gallup found that — perhaps unsurprisingly — Americans are much more likely to drink on the weekends.
8. American teens are drinking less than before
During the past couple of decades, teen alcohol use has plummeted. Public health experts and policy officials generally credit stricter enforcement of ID checks, better education, and anti-drug campaigns for the drop. The drop in drinking is a public health win for all sorts of reasons: Studies show alcohol may damage the developing teen brain, people who drink earlier in life may be more likely to have alcohol problems later on, and young drivers are more likely to have alcohol-related car accidents. A 2013 analysis from Mothers Against Drunk Driving found that just 32 percent of underage-drinking deaths were traffic-related; 30 percent were homicides, 14 percent were suicides, 9 percent were alcohol poisonings, and 15 percent were due to other causes.