World Alcohol and Drinking History Timeline

The Emergence of Temperance

From 1800 to 1900

Temperance thought began emerging during the 1800s. Following the Revolutionary War, numerous problems were associated with rapidly the growing industrialization, urbanization and social changes. Alcohol and temperance became the focal point of a cultural war between different life styles and values; small town versus cities, “Old Americans” versus immigrants, the South versus the Northeast, Protestantism versus Catholicism and Judaism, and so on.

With the breakdown of social norms that discouraging alcohol abuse, heavy drinking became much more common and caused numerous problems. And although alcohol abuse caused problems, it came to be seen as the primary cause, rather than largely the result, of societal changes and problems.

Drinking excessively tended not to be a problem on a farm, but was inconsistent with the growing need for factory workers who followed the clock rather the level of sunlight or the seasonal needs of agriculture. Employers wanted reliable and sober workers who would show up on time and not get hurt on the job.

Protestant churches began to view the substance of alcohol itself as evil and its consumption, even in moderation, as a sin. This, combined with a growing women’s movement that stressed the protection of domestic life from partner violence, child neglect, and lost wages, thus strengthened the movement into a religious and moral crusade.

Note: This timeline presents events in the history of alcohol and drinking during the 19th Century, in chronological order. When events are listed as having occurred within a period of time, such as 1870s, they are listed before more specifically dated events, such as 1873.

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Nineteenth Century

1803

By 1803 cocktails appear to have been invented. The first published reference to the cocktail appeared in the Farmer's Cabinet (Amherst, New Hampshire, April 28, 1803) and the first published definition appeared in The Balance and Columbian Repository of 1806 as “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.” 14

1804

1805

1810

1811

The first vineyard was planted in Canada.22

1815

The first commercial winery in New Zealand was built.23

1817

The Ashante (who lived in what is now called Ghana) produced substantial quantities of palm wine.24

Post-1818

Temperance societies were established in a number of countries beginning in 1819 with the founding of such an organization in Sweden and one in the United States in 1826. In 1830, temperance societies were founded in Ireland and Germany and in the following year societies were established in England and in Scotland. This was followed by the formation of temperance organizations in Australia (1832), India (1835), New Zealand (1836), South Africa (1838), Norway (1840), Denmark (1840), Bermuda (1841), Jamaica (1841), The Netherlands (1842), Poland (1844), Hawaii (1847), Finland (1883), and Japan (1909). In 1837 a temperance society was established in France “but it never made much progress,” apparently because the French saw inebriation as a problem caused by Protestantism.25

1820s

1825

Sparkling wine production, which continues, began in Slovakia.28

Cir. 1830

Vines were planted in Western Australia.29

1830

Abraham Lincoln, who would later become President of the U.S., held a liquor license (1833) and operated several taverns.31

1833

1838

1840s

1840

Before the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand in 1840, the indigenous Maori had no alcoholic beverages of any form.38

1842

Pilsner was first created in the Czech city of Plzen by a Bavarian brewmaster named Josef Groll.39

1848

1849

Swedish physician Magnus Huss coined term “alcoholism” and described what he considered to be the disease of Alcoholismus chronicus.42

1850

1851-1900

“The latter half of the nineteenth century became the golden age of the saloon.”46

1852

The Woman’s New York State Temperance Society was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Mary C. Vaughn, former Daughters of Temperance members, who had been prevented from speaking at the Sons of Temperance convention in Albany in 1852 because of their gender.47 The

1853

United Kingdom Alliance (UKA) was founded in 1853 “to outlaw all trading in intoxicating drinks.”48

1855

The 1855 Classification of Bordeaux wines was created at the request of Napoleon. The Chamber of Commerce participated and asked wine dealers to compile a list of the best producers of wine, which they did based on the market prices of the wines.49

1856

Funded by a distiller, Louis Pasteur investigated the process of fermentation and isolated yeast, a major discovery in the field of alcohol production.50

1860s

Vines were planted in Queensland.51

1860

1861

1863

Phylloxera vastatrix, a grape vine parasite spread from the U.S., where native vines were resistant, to England. From there it spread to Bordeaux two years later and migrated all over Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. In the 1870s it spread across French vineyards at the rate of about 40 miles per year and devastated wine production. The infestation threatened to destroy the entire European wine industry.58

1864

Anstie's limit (Anstie's rule or Ansties alcohol limit) refers to the amount of alcohol that Francis E. Anstie, M.D., (1833-1874) believed, on the basis of his research, could be consumed daily with no ill effects. It is 1.5 ounces of pure ethanol, equivalent to two and one-half standard drinks of beer, wine or distilled spirits.59

1865

Post-1865

After the American Civil War (1861-1865) beer replaced whiskey as preferred beverage of working men.62

1869

1870s

Wine production became well established in Cape Verde.65

Cir. 1870

“it was not until around 1870 that grapes in Japan were used to make wine, when Hironori Yamada and Norihisa Takuma set up a winemaking enterprise in Kofu, Yamanashi.”66

1870

1872

A Licensing Act was passed in the UK that restricted hours of alcohol beverage sale in England and Wales.70

1873

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was founded in Cleveland, Ohio. The correct name is “woman’s” rather than “women’s.71

The WCTU’s Department of Scientific Temperance taught as scientifically proved fact that

  • The majority of beer drinkers die from dropsy. (An old term for edema, or swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water.)
  • [Alcohol] turns the blood to water.
  • [Referring to invalids.] A man who never drinks liquor will get well, where a drinking man would surely die.72

1873-1874

Dr. Diocletian Lewis, a Boston minister, led the Woman’s Temperance Crusade of 1873-1874.73

1874

Prime Minister Gladstone lost his seat in Parliament when he attempted to restrict gin consumption.74

1875

“In 1875, French absynthe drinkers downed approximately 185,000 gallons of the stuff; by 1910, that figure had increased to an astonishing 9,500 gallons.”75

Beer was pasteurized years before milk benefitted from the process.76

1876

Beer was first pasteurized.77

1870s

By the 1870s, the temperance movement exerted great influence in American life and culture, as this example illustrates.

In the Currier and Ives print of 1848, George Washington bid farewell to his officers with a toast in his hand and a supply of liquor on the table.

Reflecting the power of the temperance movement, a re-engraved version in 1876 removed all evidence of alcohol. Gone is the glass from Washington's hand and the liquor supply is replaced with a hat.

78

1878

Downey (as distinct from powdery) mildew appeared in France and began devastating vineyards by killing green parts of the vines.79

1879

Dr. Leslie Keeley, an American physician who asserted that “alcoholism is a disease and I can cure it,” established his first “bicloride of gold” injection treatment center. He sold franchises for over 200 centers around the world and died a millionaire (worth about $25,000,000 in today’s purchasing power.) He claimed that 95% of the patients were permanently cured. When former patients resumed drinking, he insisted that they were cured of their disease, but drank because they chose to do so.80

1880s

1880

1881

1882

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) began a successful campaign, under the direction of Mary H. Hunt, to require anti-alcohol education in every state in the U.S. as well as its territories and possessions.90

1883

In Denmark, Emil Hansen isolated the first single-cell yeast culture. This enabled brewers to select those strains that made good beer and ensured brand consistency by eliminating undesirable yeast strains.91

1885

The production of significant quantities of quality wines began in Argentina with the opening of a railroad linking the city of Mendoza with Buenos Aires.92

1886

Coca-Cola was introduced as a temperance beverage.93

1893

1894

1895

 

The Future

To learn more about alcohol and drinking after the Emergence of Temperance, visit

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