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Alcoholic beverage

Drink with a substantial ethanol amount / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An alcoholic beverage (also called an adult beverage, alcoholic drink, strong drink, or simply a drink) is a drink that contains ethanol, a type of alcohol that acts as a drug and is produced by fermentation of grains, fruits, or other sources of sugar.[2] The consumption of alcoholic drinks, often referred to as "drinking", plays an important social role in many cultures. Most countries have laws regulating the production, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages,[3] and the temperance movement advocates against the consumption of alcoholic beverages.[4] Regulations may require the labeling of the percentage alcohol content (as ABV or proof) and the use of a warning label. Some countries ban such activities entirely, but alcoholic drinks are legal in most parts of the world. The global alcoholic drink industry exceeded $1 trillion in 2018.[1]

A selection of alcoholic drinks: red wine, malt whisky, lager, sparkling wine, lager, cherry liqueur and red wine
A liquor store in the United States. Global sales of alcoholic drinks exceeded $1 trillion in 2018.[1]

Alcohol is a depressant, which in low doses causes euphoria, reduces anxiety, and increases sociability. In higher doses, it causes drunkenness, stupor, unconsciousness, or death. Long-term use can lead to an alcohol use disorder, an increased risk of developing several types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and physical dependence.

According to the World Health Organization, alcohol is the highest risk-group carcinogen, and no quantity of its consumption can be considered safe.[5] According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dietary guidelines on alcohol, it is not recommended to start consuming alcohol for any reason; for those who drink, "drinking less is better for health than drinking more", and growing research indicates that even moderate drinking has no positive health benefits overall.[6] A systemic metanalysis of 107 cohort studies concluded low daily alcohol intake gives neither harm nor benefit; however, increased consumption, even at relatively low levels of daily intake (>2 beverages for women and >3 beverages for men), does increase health and mortality risks.[7]

Alcohol is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world, and about 33% of all humans currently drink alcohol.[8] In 2015, among Americans, 86% of adults had consumed alcohol at some point, with 70% drinking it in the last year and 56% in the last month.[9] Alcoholic drinks are typically divided into three classes—beers, wines, and spirits—and typically their alcohol content is between 3% and 50%.

Discovery of late Stone Age jugs suggest that intentionally fermented drinks existed at least as early as the Neolithic period (c.10,000 BC).[10] Several other animals are affected by alcohol similarly to humans and, once they consume it, will consume it again if given the opportunity, though humans are the only species known to produce alcoholic drinks intentionally.[11]