Are you a drinking lover? Are you sure that you know everything about the beverages that you use every day? The history of beverages has been a long way up till now, and no one knows precisely when and where it came from.
This article will explore essential information about the history of beverages and the secret facts hidden behind them.
What is the oldest drink in the history of beverages?
There are some controversies around this, but mead is considered to be the oldest alcoholic beverage.
Some cultures around the globe were producing mead spontaneously at the same time. The linguistic root for mead is medhu, which is the same in all Indo-European languages.
The earliest archaeological evidence for the production of the mead dates to around 7000 BC. Researchers reveal that the beverage consisted of wild grapes, honey and rice, so-called wine–mead–sake, which is the oldest record of an alcohol-containing drink.
Considered one of the original drinks, milk is the first non-alcoholic drink. It is created during breeding domesticating animals in the primitive age.
In beverage history, wine-mead-sake is the oldest alcoholic drink, while milk is the first non-alcoholic beverage.
How did the history of beverages profoundly influence the development of the world?
The formation of civilizations
In ancient Iraq and ancient Egypt, scientists speculate that beer was instrumental in the formation of civilizations. Approximately 5000 years ago, workers in ancient Iraq got paid by their employers with volumes of beer.
Through the construction of the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, each worker got a daily payment by couples of liters of beer, which guaranteed both nutrition and refreshment for workers.
Pottery: the earliest invention in the world
The production of wine increased the demand for pottery which was the earliest invention in the world. Making wine may be easier to make beer, but it’s harder to store because it demands pottery that could preserve the exquisite wine.
Besides, wine was initially associated with social elites and religious activities. Ancient Greeks and Romans produced many grades of wine for different social classes.
Coffeehouses: Conference center in the 17th and 18th centuries
English coffeehouses were public social places where men would meet for conversation and commerce. The historian Brian Cowan reveals them as “places where people gathered to drink coffee, learn the news of the day and exchange ideas and information.”
Topics discussed included politics and political scandals, fashion, current events, and debates surrounding the philosophy and the natural sciences. Political groups frequently used coffeehouses as the conference room. The French Revolution originated in a coffeehouse as well.
Coffee also had a strong relation to the rituals of business that remain today. Lloyds of London and the London Stock Exchange were both originally coffeehouses.
The expansion of imperial
Tea played a vital role in expanding imperialism in Great Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries. Tea became a stable commodity for the British Empire, and a billion dollars of silver were exchanged for tea in China annually.
The East India Company was established by the Royal Charter in 1600 and was granted a monopoly over British trade with Asia. The East India Company took this chance to enjoy a monopoly on tea exports from China.
From the late 1880s to the 1930s, the British figured out how to grow tea in India, Sri Lanka, and Africa. They dominated the market and controlled about two-thirds of the global tea trade.
The symbol of the United States
Coca-Cola is the most famous drink on Earth and has become one of the signature symbols of the United States. Based on that, other countries use Coca-Cola to show their attitude forward to the United States movement.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall came to fall and many people were heaving cartons of Coca-Cola bottles over the wall for days. East Germans quickly reached for Cokes, which has become an outstanding event of liberty in the history of beverages.
In 2003, when anti-American sentiment was high in Thailand, Thai Muslims poured Coca-Cola into the streets in southern Thai province Yala to show disdain for the U.S. This strong protest was in response to the US-led war on Iraq.
A brief history of 7 popular beverages
1. Wine – the oldest drink in the history of beverages
The first wine pot in the world was created in China around 7000 BC, made by fermenting rice, honey, and fruit. Besides, some other places were also discovered to produce wine, such as Iran (5000 BC), Greece (4500 BC), Republic of Armenia (4100 BC) …
Wine has been drinking since classical Greek times during breakfast and night party wine. The Romans also consumed wine in the 1st century B.C.— however, the Greeks and the Romans both diluted wine with water.
The wine was brought to the New World, Mexico and Brazil by conquistadors. Wine spread throughout South America from these two original locales. By 1554, Spanish missionaries brought wine to America, and since then, it has been widely available in many places.
2. Beer – experienced history with Houblon flower in romantic France
Similar to wine, beer produce was about 7,000 BC in present-day Mesopotamia, Iran.
Opening the era of beer can not forget to mention the Sumerians. They have had up to 20 brewers. At that time, because it was not filtered, the beer was cloudy, so you must use a straw when drinking.
Houblon flowers began to be cultivated and exploited in France in the 9th century, and when brewed beer will create a bitter taste and preserve the flavor for longer.
Since the Middle Ages in Europe, beer making was often in households. Gradually, around the 14th and 15th centuries, beer production changed from household production to manual activities.
At the end of the 19th century was the age of the industrial revolution, small beer production was no longer significant and shifted from craft to industry.
Nowadays, beer is one of the most popular drinks in the world. The beer industry has flourished and become a global business.
3. Milk – a drink first came from sheeps
In the history of beverages, milk is the most challenging type to determine when it was first consumed. Because it could have been drunk directly from the teat of an animal, and milk consumption does not require specialized equipment such as making wine grapes or beer.
Ovines – sheep and goats – were probably the first animals domesticated and the first animals milked. The earliest evidence of domesticated sheep comes from about 9000 BC in Iraq and Romania.
Those nomadic herders were likely the first milk drinkers, although it remains possible that they kept these animals for meat, hides, and feathers in the first place.
One interesting feature of milk consumption is that just a few human populations maintain the ability to digest lactose into adulthood. Those populations are typically called lactase persistent.
4. Coffee – a drink that came from Africa
Coffee originated in Ethiopia, Africa and then exported to Yemen in the 9th century. The earliest consumers of coffee often ate the coffee beans or raw.
In the late 14th century, Yemen people used coffee in a different way which was known as “Modern” coffee- roasted, ground and brewed coffee.
By the 16th century, people brought coffee to Persia, Turkey, and North Africa. From here, coffee spread throughout Europe d and the rest of the world.
5. Soft drink – the first chemical drink in beverage history
About 2000 years ago, the Greeks and Romans realized the therapeutic value of mineral water and bathed in it to relax.
In the late 1700s, Europeans and Americans began drinking mineral water for its well-known benefits. In 1809, “soda water” was born with a composition of water and sodium bicarbonate mixed with acid to make gas bubbles.
In 1886, an Atlanta pharmacist, John Pemberton, combined coca with cola and created the world’s most famous drink, “Coca-Cola” – one of the world’s most valuable brands in the history of beverages
A few years later, Caleb Bradham-another pharmacist, created “Pepsi-Cola” in North Carolina. Although the so-called “Pepsi-Cola” is derived from pepsin, an acid to aid digestion, Pepsi did not advertise as a beverage that has healing benefits.
6. Tea – first discovered around 1600 – 1046 BC
Tea originated in Asia, mainly in southwestern China and north, is estimated to have been during 1600 BC – 1046 BC. The ancient Chinese used only tea for medicinal purposes and in Europe, drinking tea was just for the high-level class likes the royal or the nobility.
Tea is the world’s most commonly consumed type in beverage history, just after water.
In 618 – 907, tea became a daily drink and was used by all classes of the Chinese. At that time, the Japanese Zen Buddhism sect monks to China practice religion brought tea back to their homeland.
Since then, tea has developed very strongly in Japan, to the point of forming the famous tea ceremony art in the world.
The 16th century marked a turning point on the path to the world of tea. European travelers returned from China to bring back jasmine and mallow, Portugal to try.
Immediately, aromatic jasmine tea became the favorite drink of the aristocracy here. From the time of King Charles II, tea was popular among British royalty and afternoon tea parties were an indispensable part of royal life.
In the 18th century, tea became extremely popular everywhere along with the development of the British Empire. Tea followed the British merchants to the old colonies of this country, such as America, India, etc.
7. Juice – the most natural drink in beverage history
There is nothing to be found in the evidence of the history of juice making. One of the problems is when ‘juice’ originated.
Early agricultural communities may have squeezed fruit specifically for its juice. Accumulations of grape pips have been found from 8000 BC, but those are generally considered evidence of wine production rather than juice.
One of the primary regularly produced juices was lemonade, appearing in 16th-century Italy, as an import, after its conception within the Middle East. By the mid-17th century, orange juice had joined the list of beverage choices.
In the 18th century, James Lind used mandarin orange to prevent from lacking vitamin C. A century later, it led to the implementation of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1867, requiring all Ocean-bound British ships to hold citrus-based juice on board.
Interesting facts about 4 most well-known beverage brands in the world
1. Coca Cola – with a recipe developed from a drugstore
Was created as an alternative to morphine
After being wounded during the Civil War, the founder of Coca-Cola – John Pemberton developed a morphine addiction.
He conducted in search of an opium-free substitute, and the result, which he developed at his drugstore in Columbus, Georgia, served as the prototype for Coca-Cola’s recipe; he called it a “brain tonic and intellectual beverage.”
It was originally alcoholic
Pemberton’s original Coca-Cola formula had a third intoxicant ingredient: alcohol. Coca-Cola was first developed as a coca wine, which included cocaine and alcohol and was first created in France within the 1860s.
The name Coca-Cola is short for two main ingredients: the coca leaf and the kola nut. The coca leaf contains cocaine primarily, and the kola nut provided caffeine.
The formula was protected in a vault
During the 1920s, the Coca-Cola Company dramatically hid its secret formula in a vault. It also has some strict rules for seeing the document with the recipe: Only two employees know exactly the formula, and they’re not allowed to travel together.
In 2011, the company made the formula vault into an exhibit at Atlanta’s World of Coca-Cola. The exhibition also marked the first step of the formula from its home in Atlanta’s SunTrust Bank in 125 years.
The most remarkable beverage company
Maybe you don’t know that the Coca-Cola Company offers 500 brands and almost 4000 different types in more than 200 countries. This is a massive number for a drink company in the whole history of beverages.
2. Fanta – renowned for the fruit juice products
Fanta was invented by Coca Cola employees
During World War II, it’s hard to import Coca-Cola ingredients because of a trade embargo against Germany. So Coca-Cola employees in Germany independently invented Fanta instead.
The formula we know today wasn’t officially launched until 1955 in Naples, Italy. It uses naturally sourced oranges instead of beet sugar, whey and apple pomace.
The myth of Fanta’s name
The man involved in creating Fanta is Max Keith, who was the chairman of Coca-Cola Deutschland. When he was considering a name for the drink, he told his employees to let their fantasies (“fantasy” in German) go viral. One of his salesmen immediately called out, “Fanta!”
3. Schweppes – the world’s oldest soft drink
A Royal Family favorite drink
Schweppes Holding Limited was on the List of Royal Warrant holders of the British Royal Family in the 19th century.
Before Schweppes made ginger ale, the company produced carbonated mineral water from a famous spring in England. This was used to help digest food and gout, but most of it was also sold to the British Royal Family.
The first soft drink in the history of beverages
Schweppes first appeared in 1783 as the earliest soft drink in the world. The founder of Schweppes is Jacob Schweppe who wanted to create a new type of carbonated beverage, so he set out his own process of creating mineral water.
In the 1950s, the term “schweppervescence” was born to describe its crumbly, fizzy bubbles.
4. Pepsi – with an interesting origin of its name
The meaning of Pepsi’s name
Caleb Bradham invented Pepsi in 1893, and he named the soda “Brad’s Drink.” In 1898, it was given a new name “Pepsi-Cola” after the root of “dyspepsia,” meaning “assimilation,” because there was a belief that it’s easier to break down food if using soft drinks.
In the early 1960s, Pepsi came up with an attractive slogan for its campaign: “Come alive! You are in the Pepsi generation”. But there is no translation for native speakers of Mandarin in China.
So, it turned out to be a totally different slogan that came into the history of beverages: “Bring your ancestors back from the dead with Pepsi.”
To sum up, the history of beverage has had a long run-up till now. It’s easy to see various kinds of beverages on every table or anywhere. These days, drinks not only play an essential role in people’s daily life but are also representative of high-class social activities and have spiritual value.
In this article, you may have a fundamental knowledge of the history of beverages and unknown facts about them.
Tan Do is a global beverage ODM/OEM manufacturer and supplier located in Vietnam. Since 1996, we have built trust and credibility not only throughout Vietnam but also in many parts of the world. Leveraging state-of-the-art technology, we have crafted thousands of products that align with ISO, HACCP, HALAL, FDA, and many other standards.