An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing a significant proportion of the psychoactive drug ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. As one of the most frequently consumed recreational substances worldwide, alcoholic beverages play a substantial societal role in numerous cultures. Given their potential for misuse, the production, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages are regulated by laws in almost all countries, with some nations imposing complete bans on such activities.
The global alcoholic beverages industry surpassed $1 trillion in 2014, indicative of its economic significance. Human production and consumption of alcoholic beverages date back to the Neolithic Era, with evidence pointing to the preparation of such drinks as early as 8,000 BC.
Alcoholic beverages are generally classified into three categories—beers, wines, and spirits—each varying in their alcohol content, which typically falls between 3% and 40% alcohol by volume. The term ‘alcoholic’ is also used to refer to a person suffering from alcoholism, a condition characterized by an addiction to the consumption of alcohol. However, in the context of beverages, it designates drinks containing alcohol.