Alcohol Timeline 1400-1600



Common names for alehouses are; Blue Boar, Blossom, New Inn, Red Lion, Black Lion, Blue-eyed Maid, Beverly Arms, Crooked Billet, and Spread Eagle.

Drinking words heard are; Drowned the shamrock, dronke, drunk as a swine, overseen, pissed as a skunk, served up, off me pickle, aroused, and arseholed.

Distillation is practiced on a large scale.

Printing is invented.

Tsar Ivan III introduces a state monopoly on the production and sales of vodka.

1400 Europeans produce ethereal sounds from wine glasses.

1404 King Henry IV prohibits alchemists and therefore probably stopped all distilling in England except for monasteries.

1411 Armagnac is produced in France.

1420 Germany perfects the lager method of brewing.

1429 Foreign visitors present Prince Vasily the Second Vasilievitch with aqua vitae, which he diluted with water.

1450 Nottingham alehouses must close at 9pm.

1451 Austrian Alchemist Michael Puff von Schrick claims that anyone who drinks a half a spoonful of brandy every day would never be sick. Also, if a little brandy was poured into the mouth of a dying person, that person would speak before dying.

1483 Michael Puff von Schrick prints the first work on distillation called Verzeichnis der ausgeprannten Wasser (The Book of Distillation of the Waters of all Manner of Herbes).

1487 England law states that no wine from Gascony or Guienne can be imported.

1489 Brauerei Beck, Germany’s first brewing guild is established.

1490 Columbus finds Indians making beer from corn and black birch sap.

1493 Columbus plants the Caribbean's first sugarcane in Haiti.
1493 Columbus takes citrus fruit to the West Indies.
1494 Whisky-making in Scotland is first recorded.


Common names for alehouses are; Boar’s Head, Beverley Arms, Black Lion, Bull Long Medford, Crown Sarre, King’s Head, The Lion, and The Crane.

Drinking words heard are; alecied, aled up, befuddled, drinking deep, malt above the meal, swallowed a tavern token, shattered, shaved, swilled up, whittled, rowdy, has more than one can hold and has on a barley cap.

The term Honeymoon comes from the common practice of drinking honey wine for a full cycle of the moon during medieval times. Mead was considered an aphrodisiac and the newly married couple was to drink mead for the first month of their marriage to ensure that the union would be fruitful one.

Improvements are made to stills for better cooling & condensing of vapors.

Vineyards around Cognac are destroyed during religious wars and don’t grow back well. The Dutch persuade them to make brandy from it.

Beer, fruit wine, mead and sparkling mead permeate the Middle Ages.

The Spanish conquer the Aztecs and begin distilling tequila.

1500 Vandermint is produced in Holland.
1500 Kümmel is produced in Holland.
1505 The first export of Russian vodka is recorded.
1514 Louis XII of France grants rights to distill liquor to vinegar manufacturers.
1516 The Reinheitsgebot Law was enacted in Bavaria, Germany requiring that beer be made from malt, hops, yeast, and water only.

1519 Magellan spends more money on sherry than weapons when stocking his ship for the voyage to the New World.

1520 Benedictine is produced by monks in Normandy, France.
1521 Spanish troops come across the blue agave plant after arriving in Mexico.
1521 Arabs blame the Jews of being responsible for the water shortage in Jerusalem because of their winemaking.

1525 Amaretto Disaronno is produced in Saronno, Italy.

1527 L. Andrew translates Michael Puff von Schrick’s, Verzeichnis der ausgeprannten Wasser (The Book of Distillation of the Waters of all Manner of Herbes) into English.
1531 English brewers are forbidden to make their own ale barrels.
1540 Distiller, Biringuccio illustrates the use of a coil design.
1543 Sugar cane is introduced to Brazil.
1552 King Edward VI requires all keepers of alehouses and tiplinghouses to have a license from the justices of the peace. This law is to reduce drunkenness and social disorder.
1553 Beck's brewery is established in Germany.
1568 Alexander Nowell perfects a way to bottle beer with cork sealed glass bottles.
1568 The folk song, John Barleycorn, is included in the Bannatyne Manuscript.
1575 Bols distillery is founded in Holland.
1577 English government survey 30 counties and find 17,595 drinking houses: 86% alehouses, 12% inns and 2% taverns.
1584 Russian Tsar, Ivan IV the terrible, replaces the sale of beer and mead with vodka at state-run taverns.
1587 Sir Walter Raleigh brews the first beer in Virginia then sends requests to England for better beer.
1588 Soldiers returning from Holland where they had helped the Dutch fight the French, bring gin back with them.
1595 Raleigh returns to England from Guyana with new plants hoping to contain the missing ingredients in the water of life. Raleigh falls from favor with King James I and is imprisoned in the Tower of London with a lab. He concocts a Great Cordial by macerating 40 roots, seeds, & herbs, distilled it, added pearls, coral, deer horns, amber, musk, antimony, sugar, & stones found in stomachs of animals. Queen Ann of Denmark, James I’s wife, consumes it and believes it cured her from her serious illness. Their son consumes it and dies, so Raleigh was executed. Later it’s rumored that the King added poison to it.
1597 Scottish government banned the use of barley for whisky because of a barley crop failure. All barley was to be used for food only.
1597 King Philip II issues Don Lorenzo Garcia a land grant to start the first official winery for the new world at the San Lorenzo Hacienda in Mexico.




Common names for alehouses and pubs are; Bear Hungerford, Bear at Bridge-foot, Light Heart, Henneky’s Holborn, Mermaid, Belle Sauvage, Bull Devonshire Street, Bull and Bush, Bull and Gate, The Plough, The Red Lion, and Three Nuns.

Drinking words heard are; Admiral of the narrow seas, beastly drunk, cap-sick, bubbled, caught a fox, D and D (drunk and disorderly), boozed, dull in the eye, elevated, giggled up, got bread and cheese in one's head, muddled up, on a continual drinking merry-go-round, on the rampage, and seeing double.

Christian monks produce Frangelico in Northern Italy and later model the bottle shape of a monk’s habit with rope around the waist.

Cherries are brought to America.

1600 Dutch sea merchants discover that when they distill wine, it’s preserved longer. They also find it gets better when aged in wooden barrels. Cognac was born.
1600 A clock is built in Germany showing a king riding in an elephant pulled chariot with the clock on his big belly. When the clock strikes, the king rolls his eyes, licks his lips and drinks from a tankard.

1600 The French cool drinking bottles by rotating them in a mixture of cold water and salt.
1600 The first commercial tequila distillery opens in Mexico.
1601 King James I comes from Scotland as King James VI and orders that all taverns have the symbol of the Scottish red lion on their signs.
1603 King James I passes the first legislation against drunkenness.
1605 Chartreuse is produced in a monastery near Paris.

1608 Bushmills Irish Whiskey distillery opens.

1612 The first commercial brewery opens in Manhattan.
1615 The Grolsch brewery opens in Holland.
1618 King James I sets the first legislation for the closure of alehouses on Sunday during the hours of divine services.

1620 The plan is to drop off the pilgrims in Virginia, but the Mayflower crew wanted to preserve their beer stock so they dropped them at Plymouth Rock.

1620 Captain George Thorpe makes the first corn liquor in Jamestown, Virginia.
1623 The first American brewery is built in Manhattan.

1625 Dutch artist, Jan Steen is born and lives for 54 years. He paints many styles but is known for painting daily life; The Drinker, Leaving the Tavern, A Merry Party, In the Tavern, and many more drink related paintings.

1625 Haig becomes the first recognized name in Scotch whisky.
1627 King Charles I imposes a fine of twenty shillings and a whipping for keeping an alehouse without a license.
1632 Dutch tavern keeper and artist, Jan Vermeer is born and lives for 43 years. Throughout his life he respectfully paints daily life with drink related works such as; The glass of wine and The girl with the wine glass.
1634 Samuel Cole opens the first tavern in Boston, Massachusetts.
1637 John Medley immigrates to Maryland from England, bringing a still with him.
1639 Physician, Francois Citois publishes a book that describes a disease called colica pictonum that comes from sweetening sour wines with lead additives.
1640 The first American distillery is built in Staten Island and produces gin, but soon changes to rum when the British take it over.

1651 Six detailed books titled The Art of Distillation are published by Doctor and Chemist, John French, from London. The famous Arcanum compares making liquor with the formation of life itself, referring to the distilled spirit as the embryo and water being both the sperm and menstrum of the world.

1650 Spirits distilled from sugar cane are described as hellish liquor good only for the slaves.
1652 The first coffee house opens in England.
1660 Brandy is added to Portuguese wine to help preserve it for Atlantic voyages.

1663 The first design of a coupe style Champagne glass is used for an English sparkling wine. It’s said that the design is modeled after a woman’s breast. Marie Antoinette’s in particular.

1665 South Africa's first vineyard is planted.
1667 Dr. John French makes a spirit from human skulls. He breaks the skulls into pieces, burns it in distilling containers yielding a yellow spirit then adds red oil, & a volatile salt. It’s supposed to help with gout and stomach problems.
1667 Dr. John French takes the urine of a young man that has drunk a lot of wine, lets it stand for 40 days then distills it 3 times. The spirit is so pure that it burns easily and can even dissolve gold and precious stones. It’s used for liver disease and jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin.
1667 Dr. John French makes a spirit from horse dung that has been standing in the sun for 2 days. He then adds a pint of white wine to each pound of dung and let’s this stand for a fortnight (2 weeks) then distills it 4 times. It’s said to be good for the bladder and scurvy.
1672 The term Rum is first used.
1673 The first recorded wine auction is held in London.
1674 Harvard college builds it’s own brew house.
1674 The UK bans the importation of French wine
1680 William Penn opens a commercial brewery in Pennsylvania.

1685 Chambord is introduced in France.

1688 Dom Pérignon joins the Abbey of Hautvillers as cellar master.
1688 Persecuted Huguenot French Protestants flee to South Africa and while there improve the quality of wine production.
1689 England produces half a million gallons of gin.

1689 King of England, William of Orange, deems gin the in spirit to drink.
1690 William of Orange pushes the English Spirit Distilling Act through parliament.
1690 The first bottle of Champagne is uncorked.
1691 Ketel One is created by the Nolet family in Holland.
1694 In England, beer is heavily taxed making gin the cheapest drink in town.
1694 Commander of the British Mediterranean Fleet threw huge officer’s party using a garden fountain with over 600 gallons of Sangria.
1695 DeKuyper opens in Holland.
1696 Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Wurttemberg, Germany, bans all lead-based wine additives.
1698 William Laird begins production of applejack for personal use in New Jersey.
1699 Because of competition, the King of Spain bans the production of wine in the Americas, except for wine made for the church.


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19-7000 BC