Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

This alcoholic drink made, like wine, by fermentation, but of cereals rather than grapes, has impinged on wine mainly as a commercial competitor, the rivalry having ancient roots. Both beverages were enjoyed in the civilizations of mesopotamia, Ancient iran, and Ancient egypt, where brewing was associated with bread-making. Although beer was occasionally used for religious purposes, it was generally the drink of the common people, whereas the aristocracy and priesthood drank wine.

See also coffee houses for details of other drinks which were historically in commercial competition with wine. See sparkling wines for one area in which the technical concerns of the beer industry parallel those of some winemakers.