Alcohol Regulations, History of

Addressing the dictums and laws surrounding alcohol production, consumption, and distribution involves issues of comportment, morality and ethics, public health, racial and gender equality, taxation and profitability, politics and political malfeasance as well as individual liberties. Since early history, alcohol and its regulation have had an integral role in foodways and drink ways. This entry examines the history of alcohol regulations, from ancient times to present day, with a focus on U.S. regulations.

Ancient Regulations

Laws and regulations regarding alcohol were instated in ancient Rome, Greece, and Mesopotamia to control growth and distribution of grains; to regulate the symposium rituals, sumptuary laws, funerary practices; and to assess taxes.

Numa Pompilius, the second monarch of Rome, initiated Postumian Laws restricting wine from being poured on funeral pyres, the use ...

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