History of Beer

When A Civilization Drinks Together, It Stays Together

In a recent article by Popular Science, Archaeologists unearthed more evidence that when a civilization drinks together, it stays together. An ancient Peruvian civilization that predated the Inca, The Wari empire, made advances in agriculture, art, architecture, and warfare. They also drank a ton of beer.

And, interestingly enough, that found that Wari breweries were largely managed by women. These breweries played a major role in spreading the empire’s influence across diverse communities throughout Peru.

Ryan Williams, an archaeologist at the Field Museum in Chicago, says his team was interested in how Wari created a unique culture around beer to unify otherwise disparate groups of people throughout their territory. It’s a classic case of bringing people together through drinking and merriment, but scaled way, way up. He also said, “Institutions around beermaking played a role in creating the glue that binds societies together.”

The Wari variety was chicha: a slowly brewed, beer-like fermented beverage typically made from corn that’s still produced today in South America. The brewery at Cerro Baúl made it for four centuries, surviving any environmental or social problems that may have arisen to become what Williams calls the best-preserved Wari brewery found to date. Brewers would produce 1,500 to 2,000 liters of the stuff at a time and throw multi-day, community-wide drinking festivals to consume it.

The team believes that these breweries were so resilient because they produced their own materials instead of importing them from a central capital. By completing a chemical analysis of pottery fragments found at Cerro Baúl, they found that the clay came from local sources while still retaining common Wari iconography.

“Archaeologists excavating civilizations around the globe have found that alcohol wasn’t just a way for our ancestors to get buzzed—in many cases, it occupied a significant place in society. Beer and wine were present in myths and offerings to the gods in Greece, and Rome, and were even used to pay the workers who built Ancient Egypt’s pyramids. Nash says that even when her team began research at Cerro Baúl, they performed a ceremonial offering to the land with beer in order to respect local traditions.”

“Were the Wari so successful because being constantly tipsy off homemade beer helped them get along better? Probably not — this research suggests beer may have been more potent as a cultural concept rather than an alcohol. But a few Peruvian brewskis couldn’t have hurt.”

Beer CPA Logo
Beer CPA – “We Give Craft Breweries More Freedom and Peace of Mind”
A Craft Brewery CPA Firm that’s Tech Savvy, Responsive, and Business Smart.

Craft Brewery CPA Blog

facebook twlinkedin


Article Retrieved from Popular Science, written By Alex Schwartz , April 22, 2019.

Image by JamesDeMers from via Creative Commons