With the 2018 Winter Olympics coming to an end, we’re still feeling very patriotic and as proud as ever of our grand ol’ America. But, we should thank some of our competitors – they’ve given us something we value a little more than sports: adult beverages. Listed below are some popular types of alcohol and the country that gets a gold medal for its existence.
Vodka – Russia
While the country of Poland claims to have started producing vodka before Russia, Russia gets credit for the popularity of vodka for two reasons. One, Russia owns the first actual documentation of vodka production in the 9th century. Two, Russian distilleries and soldiers are responsible for spreading vodka to surrounding countries. The first known export of Russian Vodka was in 1505 to Sweden, and in the 19th century, many Russian soldiers spread awareness of vodka throughout Europe in the Napoleonic Wars.
Wine – Italy
The world’s oldest winery can be found in Armenia, and the Greeks worked to perfect the beverage in 800 B.C., but in 21st-century terms, Italy takes the gold for this one. While Italy often competes with France and Spain in the world’s top producer of wine, Italy has come out on top four out of the five last years. (France produced only a little more in 2014!)
Tequila – Mexico
Don’t fight us on this one – or Mexico, for that matter. In 1974, Mexico claimed “Tequila” as intellectual property, meaning that production and sales of tequila in countries other than Mexico are illegal. The Tequila Regulatory Council is also responsible for overseeing the production of the spirit in Mexico, ensuring quality and even a little bit of country pride.
Beer – China
Surprising, right? While you were probably thinking of Germany getting a perfect 10 for this one, Germany actually isn’t even in the top four of the world’s largest producers of beer in 2016. But, there’s more to this winner than their higher numbers in the population, and we aren’t judging just on production. In a top-10 ranking from 2017 of the world’s best-selling beers, China takes credit for four beers (#1 – Snow, #4 – Tsingtao, #6 – Yanjing, #8 – Harbin) that made the list.
Rum – the Caribbean
The Caribbean is credited with the invention of rum. In the 17th century, sugar planters would get a byproduct when producing sugar, which we know today as molasses. At the time, molasses was seen as waste and no one really wanted it. A fermentation process was discovered, and planters could turn molasses would into rum. Gold medal to our Caribbean countries like Jamaica for that innovation.
Of course, you’re proud to be an American, but you can still be thankful for other countries’ innovations! At Wier & Bein, we’re particularly fond of each country’s contribution to the alcohol industry. Why? Because we provide full-service marketing services to wineries, breweries and distilleries across North America. Ready to learn more about us? Let’s get a drink.