Creative Commons License photo credit: waferboard“This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption … Beer!” – Friar Tuck, in the movie Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves

That’s one of my husband’s favorite quotes, but what else can you expect from a homebrewer? :)

Brewing has been around almost as long as people have been making food. According to the article History of Alcohol and Drinking Around the World, there’s evidence beer was being brewed as early as the Neolithic period. Wine was being made in Ancient Egypt – wine jars were being depicted starting 4,000 BC.

So what does this have to do with worldbuilding? Well, people like to drink, and so do their gods – or at least that’s the implication I get based on the fact alcoholic beverages were often used as religious sacrifices. What your cultures drink and what they ferment/brew can be a pretty good reflection of the values.

Do they brew with grains or honey, or ferment berry juice? Do they have their own version of kumis? Do they drink it themselves, or do alcoholic beverages serve a specific purpose? Is it used exclusively for religious acts – sacrificing it to the gods or used in religious services (like sacramental wine)?

In the Middle Ages, only the wealthy drank wine because they were the only ones who could afford to either make it themselves or to purchase it from other people. Do the different social classes in your world drink different things? If so, why.

Is the production of alcohol regulated? The Code of Hammurabi included law regulating the production of beer and places it was consumed.

Are there specific people who make alcoholic beverages either by tradition or by law? Does every bar or tavern make their own, or are they required to purchase it from licensed brewers?

Looking back to the Gates of Amduat, I would have to say just about all forms of brewing exist. The nomads would likely drink mainly kumis-like stuff, with wine perhaps being traded for from the townspeople. The townspeople would make beer, wine and mead. The temple would make those, as well as distilled spirits.

What kinds of things do your cultures drink, and why?

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