Human beings from all over the world have enjoyed alcohol for many centuries. The drink is a ‘double edged sword’ that can lend courage to the cowards, creativity to the unimaginative or be the downfall of a person’s life.
From the bizarre drinking traditions around the globe to the excessive alcohol consumption during the colonial times, the ten cases below explore the random but little-known facts about alcohol. With historical and scientific facts, the list explores the unknown facts about the liquid that God gave as a gift to humanity.
Here are ten of the Strange Facts About Alcohol
10. ‘Beer Day.’
Iceland considers the first day of March as the official ‘Beer Day,’ which is a national holiday. However, the story behind the date is more than becoming intoxicated. In 1915, Iceland decided to prohibit alcohol, a step that angered Spain. The government of Spain threatened to stop the importation of salted cod if Iceland stopped importing wines from Spain. The ban was lifted, but beer remained prohibited until 1st March 1989 when the government of Iceland allowed people to buy beer. People flocked to the streets to celebrate and buy beer, something that continues until today.
9. ‘Alcohol Legality’
In the United States of America, the drinking age ranges between 18 and 21, depending on the state. However, almost 20 countries in the world have no minimum drinking age. Cambodia and Sierra Leone have no drinking age limits while Barbuda, the Central African Republic and Antigua have their minimum drinking ages placed at between 10 and 15 years. The strictest laws with regards to drinking are found in Islamic countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan where it is illegal to consume alcohol regardless of your age. In 2012, Iran sentenced two men to death for drinking alcohol.
8. ‘Breakfast of Champions’
Many of you know about the delicious mimosa, the orange juice concoction and the champagne that always turns sunrise drinking into a classy and acceptable experience. The tradition of morning boozing has been taken to a new level by some countries. In Scotland, the ‘Black Isle Brewery’ has released ‘Cold Turkey,’ a morning drinkers’ beer. Gammel Dansk is a Danish liquor with 38 percent alcohol that is considered an eye opener.
7. ‘Colonial Times.’
Americans have always loved indulging in occasional drinking, with the colonial times being the worst with regards to drinking. On average, an American drank nine ounces of alcohol daily, with cider and beer being taken for breakfast. During the colonial times, European waterways were polluted, making people ill. People, therefore, resulted to alcohol as a substitute for water, something that continued after colonization. Brandy was used to cure cholera while whiskey cured colic and laryngitis. Expectant women took alcohol to ease discomfort.
6. ‘Alcoholic Animals’
The ‘pen-tailed tree shrews’ found in Malaysia have the highest alcohol tolerance in the world. The slow loris and fruit bats never shy up when indulging, consuming nectar from flower buds and plants as well as fermented fruits. According to a study carried out in 2006, the rhesus macaques were shown to drink until they pass out or fall. Lonely monkeys were observed to drink a lot towards the end of the day, something that also happens in human beings. Vervet monkeys like feeding on sugarcane that contains fermented ethanol, a delicacy they quickly find in the Caribbean. Butterflies drink a little beer to boost their spermatophores while fruit flies take booze after sexual rejection.
5. ‘Genetic Makeup.’
Research has shown that genetic and environmental factors influence alcoholism. For instance, Native Americans have a high rate of alcoholism. According to a professor of biochemistry and medicine called Dr. Ting-Kai Li, the excessive alcohol consumption among Native Americans is a result of an inherited gene mutation. The Native Americans lack the ‘protective genes’ that allow acetaldehyde to metabolize; thus accumulation of the acid leads to unpleasant psychological effects, something that stimulates drinking.
4. ‘Uganda’s Waragi Epidemic.’
In 2010, over 100 people died after consuming ‘illegal homemade banana gin’ blended with methanol in Uganda. The victims faced blindness, liver and kidney failure prior to their death. ‘Waragi’ is a Ugandan beer made from millet, sugarcane or bananas and is sold at a lower price. The drink is loved by many alcoholicswho are unaware of the negative impacts. However, over 80 percent of alcoholics in Uganda take ‘Waragi,’ although it has been illegalized.
3. ‘Alcohol and Pregnancy’
People wonder whether an expectant lady may take a little amount of alcohol. A Danish study found out that ladies who take a small proportion of wine while pregnant give birth to kids with greater emotional and behavioral well-being in comparison to those who choose to refrain from drinking. There exists no evidence that alcohol in small amounts is harmful to an unborn child, although the CDC recommends that expectant women must avoid alcohol.
2. ‘Alcohol’s Sobering Effects.’
Alcohol abuse can be very detrimental. Whenever we talk about alcoholism, liver cirrhosis is the first thing we think about. However, the disease is just one of the many ailments associated with the abuse of alcohol. The decrease in the ability of the body to absorb thiamine is another impact of alcohol abuse that causes the ‘Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.’ The condition impacts on movement and vision, causing a staggering impact, double vision and memory loss among alcoholics. However, the most severe disease associated with alcohol abuse is heart failure, which leads to instant death.
1. ‘The Federal Poisoning Plan.’
In December 1926, New York City had over 30 alcoholic related deaths and dozens of ill people. What people thought was a common alcoholic poisoning turned to be a scheme by the US government. After alcohol prohibition in 1920, the state resulted in adding toxic chemicals to alcohol. The plan discouraged people from re-purifying the liquid for consumption. The governments ‘anti-drinking’ forces made industrial alcohol twice poisonous, something that led to the deaths. Prohibition was however lifted after five years, with over 10,000 people already dead from the federal poisoning.
The ten facts about alcohol show us that alcohol must be used ‘responsibly’, as the processing companies always advise us. When used well, the drink leads to fun and enjoyment, which is the purpose of life.