9 Mind-Blowing Facts About Alcohol  

Drinking alcohol isn’t for everyone. Most people either love it or hate it. Some choose to enjoy a drink or two in social situations but would be just as content sticking to soft drinks instead. 

Facts About Alcohol

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But one thing is as clear as crystal clear vodka: Alcohol has played a critical role in the development of civilizations across the world and continues to impact our society today.

Here are nine incredible facts about alcohol. Cheers!

1. A Very Long Time Ago

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The world’s first known alcoholic drink quenched the thirst of people in Northern China about 9,000 years ago. Their cocktail of choice? A fermented mix of rice, honey, and hawthorn fruit or grapes.

1. A Very Long Time Ago

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Residues of the alcoholic concoction were discovered in pottery found in Jiahu, a Neolithic village in the Yellow River Valley in Henan province.

This discovery was made by a team of archaeologists led by Dr. Patrick McGovern, of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

1. A Very Long Time Ago

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The drink’s sediment was dated back between approximately 7,000 and 6,600 B.C.

About 500 years later, the first barley beer and grape wine started being produced in the Middle East.

2. Still Think You’ll Drink, Do You? 

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The U.S. government once mandated adding poison to industrial alcohol during the Prohibition Era, to deter people from drinking it. This practice killed and injured an unknown number of Americans.

2. Still Think You’ll Drink, Do You? 

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During that same era, in the 1920s and early 1930s, bootleggers were illegally redistilling industrial methanol, commonly known as “wood alcohol,” into liquor for people to drink.

2. Still Think You’ll Drink, Do You? 

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To deter this prohibited trade, the government ordered industrial manufacturers to add quinine and other toxic chemicals to their methanol.

2. Still Think You’ll Drink, Do You? 

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The poisonous brew killed an unconfirmed number of people as a result.

On New Year’s Day in 1927, for example, 41 people died at New York’s Bellevue Hospital from alcohol-related poisonings, according to Time magazine.

3. It Keeps The Pipes Clean


Drinking alcohol moderately is good for your circulatory system. The key word here is “moderately.”

3. It Keeps The Pipes Clean

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According to the American Heart Association, drinking two units of alcohol a day for men, and one drink daily for women, increases your so-called “good” HDL cholesterol. This reduces plaque build-up in the arteries and helps prevent blood clots.

3. It Keeps The Pipes Clean

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Of course, drinking any more than that offsets these benefits by increasing your risks of death from other types of causes. They include heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders, liver cirrhosis, and traffic accidents.

4. Beer Brewing Boom 

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Over the past decade, the number of breweries in the U.S. more than tripled, from 2,670 in 2012 to 9,709 in 2022.

Over that decade, the nation’s total beer production nearly doubled, rising from 13.2 million barrels in 2012 to 24.3 million barrels in 2022.

4. Beer Brewing Boom 

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There were 4,847 breweries in 2015, the highest number since 4,131 breweries existed in 1873, according to the Brewers Association.

5. Opportunity Seized

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Did you know that World War I played a significant role in initiating Prohibition? By the time the U.S. entered the war in 1917, public sentiment had already turned against alcohol use. 

5. Opportunity Seized

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The Anti-Saloon League held great political influence. As the war intensified, the organization’s propaganda equated German-American brewers, who owned many breweries, with traitors.

5. Opportunity Seized

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This rendered German-Americans politically powerless, as the prohibition debate played out in Washington and state capitals.

The U.S. Food Control Act of 1918, which intended to conserve the nation’s resources for the war effort, also gave the government an excuse to hit brewers’ bottom line.

5. Opportunity Seized

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President Wilson reduced the supply of grain to brewers by 30%, even though there was no risk of a food shortage.

6. Rum? Yum Yum

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Of the 189 nations around the world included in a CIA comparison, none consume more alcohol than the inhabitants of the tiny Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

6. Rum? Yum Yum

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The average Cook Islander drank 12.97 liters of alcohol annually as of 2019, edging out Latvia as the most boozy country, at 12 liters per capita, according to the CIA’s Worldbook.

6. Rum? Yum Yum

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Seven of the 10 nations with the highest drinking rates are located in Eastern Europe. These are Latvia, Czechia, Lithuania, Austria, Estonia, Bulgaria, and Slovenia.

7. It Hits Quick 

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Alcohol can start affecting your brain in just six minutes. That’s how fast it passes through the stomach lining, into the bloodstream, and up to the brain.

7. It Hits Quick 

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Within 10 minutes, alcohol starts to affect your behavior. Within 20 minutes, your liver starts processing the alcohol.

7. It Hits Quick 

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The liver can metabolize about one ounce of alcohol per hour. Your blood alcohol content, which determines how intoxicated you feel after drinking, rises if you continue drinking faster than the liver can metabolize the alcohol.

7. It Hits Quick 

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If your blood alcohol content reaches .08, the legal limit for legal driving, it takes about five hours to clear all of that alcohol from your body once you’ve stopped drinking.

8. Driven to Drink 

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Alcohol sales and consumption increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with related health problems.

8. Driven to Drink 

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It’s not unusual for societal drinking to increase during and after disasters, as people seek relief from the stress involved. The pandemic was no different.

8. Driven to Drink 

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Alcohol sales in the U.S. increased 3% year-on-year during the first year of the pandemic, 2020. This represented the biggest rise in more than 50 years. 

8. Driven to Drink 

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About 25% of people drank more than usual. Liquor drove most of the sales increase, with wine and beer sales remaining largely unaffected. 

9. Declaration of Intoxication

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When the former British colonies in the New World were uniting to become a single nation in the 1700s, alcohol was considered a healthy drink. As a result, people drank much more of it than Americans do today. 

9. Declaration of Intoxication

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The average American in 1790 drank 5.8 gallons of pure alcohol annually, a figure that grew to 7.1 gallons by 1830. Today, the average American drinks only 2.5 gallons a year.

9. Declaration of Intoxication

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Before the nation had access to safe drinking water systems, alcohol was often seen as a safer alternative to drinking bacteria-laden water.

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This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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