How Beer Saved the World
The surprising – and civilising – influence of beer
It sounds almost too bizarre to be true, but many now believe that it was a taste for beer, not bread, that started people farming barley around 9000BC. Known as the agricultural revolution, it ended hunter-gathering and led to the world’s first-ever civilisation – Mesopotamia. The drive to grow more barley in order to make more beer led to a cascade of inventions: the plough, the wheel, irrigation, mathematics and even writing. Beer’s hidden hand has been behind some of history’s most remarkable breakthroughs, from the discovery of germ theory to the invention of refrigeration, the birth of the factory and the end of child labour. Beer didn’t just change the world; it saved it!