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Old 03-28-2010, 04:30 PM
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Why in some countries is Beer more popular while in others Wine is more so? Here in the US, Wine is catching on, but beer is still the most popular. I understand France is Wine, Germany Beer, and Russia...If I were to guess....vodka. Why do some countries differ in this regard? Any specific reasons? Also, why is wine beginning to catch on in the US? Is it because it is believed to have health benefits? Also, isn't beer less expensive than wine, and so many young people (who drink a lot) consume beer in the US? Finally, what is the alcohol culture like in other European countries and non-Western societies? Discuss.

(I am just curious...no specific reasons...though it should be noted I am rarely a drinker so I do not know that much about alcohol).
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Old 03-28-2010, 06:27 PM
Location: San Diego
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I'm from Poland and beer is extremely popular there. The beer in Europe has a much higher alcohol content than most American beers. When my cousin came to visit us with her husband, he said he finally understands why he keeps seeing all those Americans carrying out 24 packs of Budweiser out of the store...24 of those are equal to 2 European beers! A popular thing in Poland (and some other Euro countries) is to put syrup in the beer. This is more for women, than men, and most true European bars in my area have the syrup on hand for the customers that are foreign. I've never seen this done at an American bar.

While vodka seems to be associated with Poland, it's not as popular as beer. Though when they do drink it, it's straight up not mixed with stuff. Tequila is virtually unconsumed over there and none of my family members liked the taste of it.
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:49 PM
Location: Minneapolis
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Historically in Europe all the countries where you could grow good wine had wine cultures. Beer was made in countries where you couldn't grow wine, they developed beer cultures as a result.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:54 PM
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Historically, wine grapes do best in balmy areas close to the Mediterranean (modern clones/hybrids excepted), so it's understandable that countries stretching from Portugal to the Balkans developed a wine culture over the centuries. Also this culture was promulgated by the Roman Empire and the Papacy, so areas under the rule of the Catholic Church found it to their advantage to grow & vinify the beverage of aristocrats & nobility. Conversely, in Mideast areas which are predominantly Muslim, the production of wine & other alcoholic libations eventually died out.

As to why wine is becoming more popular in the US, it's primarily due to increasing awareness of "foodie" culture popularized by Martha Stewart & the gurus on the Food Network. And also modern vinification techniques have perfected wine as a mass-market commodity that's for the most part non-perishable & consistent from vintage to vintage. 30 yrs ago there was no way you could have decent $2 Buck Chuck or Yellowtail year-in and year-out. But thanks to advances in winemaking you can make cheap decent quaffable plonk anywhere in the world. And lastly, the growth in international trade & investment in Latin America has made it possible for whole new wine regions to come online, giving consumers affordable choices at the grocery store or Trader Joe's.
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:13 AM
Location: Flanders, Belgium
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I'm from Belgium and you could say that this country is on the line between wine- and beerdrinking countries. France is wine, the Netherlands beer and Germany bit of both. Why is that?

During the middle ages (and even untill the 20th century), water was always polluted, so not drinkable. Beer and wine were safer. Everybody was drinking beer, even little children. Keep in mind that the percentage of alcohol in beer was lower than today, and that it was mostly a bit sweetened. Compare with lagers nowadays. For making beer, you need hop, maybe grains and a good fertile soil. You can find the best soils in Europe in countries like the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and northern France. So it was easy to produce hop.
In southern Europe, good soils are a rarity, compared with more up north. So in southern Europe, it is easier to plant trees (grapetrees) on the harsh soils and produce a wine with it. And because it is sunnier and warmer, the quality of the wine is mostly better.

Grapeyards north of the line South England, Antwerp, Dortmund, Leipzig are hard to find. It is to cold for it.

That is why beer of wine is more popular in European countries. In the latest centuries, the culture is exported to the colonies.
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Old 03-31-2010, 02:41 PM
Location: San Antonio
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I recall a hostorian saying that the ancient Romans did better subjecting people who drank wine and cooked with olive oil than people who drank beer and cooked with butter.
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:52 AM
Location: DC
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Originally Posted by lentzr View Post
Also, isn't beer less expensive than wine, and so many young people (who drink a lot) consume beer in the US?
Cheaper does have something to do with it, but also if you drink a lot of wine it usually gives you much nastier headache in the morning. Also, beer spills are a lot easier to clean up than red wine. Wine also has the reputation for being "nicer/classier/fancier", so it's not what you think of for just a drinking party.

That said, in college I went to plenty of wine box parties (you bring your own box of wine). Another note, when someone gets sick and makes a mess after drinking red wine it's harder to clean than from someone who had just had beer. Though, I guess white wine wouldn't be too difficult.
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Old 04-02-2010, 11:07 AM
Location: Denver 'burbs
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I'm guessing that whichever is popular in a particular country reflects what can be made from what is most easily growable there. Pretty simple.
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