A few weeks ago I found a news article about new research that makes the claim that early humans developed agriculture not for a steady supply of food, but a steady supply of booze. As the article tells us,
[Archaeologist Patrick McGovern’s]bold thesis, which he lays out in his book, Uncorking the Past. The Quest for Wine, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverage, states that agriculture–and with it the entire Neolithic Revolution, which began about 11,000 years ago–are ultimately results of the irrepressible impulse toward drinking and intoxication.
“Available evidence suggests that our ancestors in Asia, Mexico, and Africa cultivated wheat, rice, corn, barley, and millet primarily for the purpose of producing alcoholic beverages,” McGovern explains. While they were at it, he believes, drink-loving early civilizations managed to ensure their basic survival.
Hey, I think it sounds plausible. If I had to struggle to survive every day, I’d want a drink, too.