THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY,
PAST AND PRESENT
The drinking of alcoholic beverages is as old as human
history, and the serving of drinks for profit is as old as
the concept of profit itself. In most cultures over the
centuries, these beverages have been accepted as an es-
sential part of everyday life. And yet they also possess a
magic that can sometimes take the edge off human troubles or add a
special dimension to a ceremony or celebration.
There has always been a dark side to alcoholic beverages, too,
which we will examine in coming chapters. The purpose of this chap-
ter, however, is to offer a glimpse into the past and the present, both
good and bad. It will provide you with important background to help
you understand the challenges that the bar and beverage industry
THIS CHAPTER WILL HELP YOU . . .
Learn the historical importance of alcohol in religious rites, cere-
monies, and medical treatment; in meals; in fellowship; and in hu-
mankind’s search for wisdom and truth.
Learn about how wine, beer, and distilled spirits were created.
Trace the history of the tavern in Europe and America and recount
the role that taverns played in the American Revolution.
Examine the impact of Prohibition on the bar industry.
Compare and contrast the types of businesses that make up today’s
THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY, PAST AND PRESENT
In the last century in the United States alone, the bar and beverage
business has gone from an illegal enterprise, carried on behind the
locked doors of a speakeasy, to one of the nation’s most glamorous
and profitable businesses. Together with the foodservice or restau-
rant business, the two form the country’s fourth-largest industry. In
fact, it is impossible to separate them.
In the 1930s the United States was nearing the end of Prohibition, which was
an unsuccessful attempt to regulate alcohol consumption by outlawing it entirely.
History tells us that such attemp