Turns out nobody knows.
I was at a bar with friends on Sunday having a lovely evening sipping beers when a friend questioned: which came first, wine or beer? Surprisingly, that launched us into chatting about civilization, happy accidents, travel, culture and city planning. We got way off track and ended the evening without knowing the answer.
When I got home and Googled it, I was no closer, still.
We know that both beer and wine existed during the Stone Age. We know that first batches of both alcohols likely occurred by accident and we know that many communities across the globe made their own versions of the two.
Now, Quora.com and Yahoo Answers are saying beer came first, but the respondents’ deductions are based on cavemen drinking beer and the earliest writings about wine coming from the bible, which came after cavemen. I think that logic is pretty thin and I’m not sure the bible contains the earliest writings about wine, and even if it did, isn’t the bible about supposed events that happened way before it was published?
According to Cambridge World History of Food, no one has dated the exact origin of beer, however some archaeologists believe brewing began about 8,000 years ago. The earliest archaeological evidence of wine dates back to about 7,400 years ago. Yet what if there was evidence that has since been destroyed or has yet to be found?
Just last week archaeologists found one of the world’s oldest wine cellars in Israel, dating back to 1700 B.C.