The entrepreneurial skills of women have once again hogged the limelight following claims from an academic that beer, the famous drink of every party, owes its existence to women.
According to a report in The Telegraph, Jane Peyton, an author and historian, said that women created beer and for thousands of years it was only they who were allowed to operate breweries and drink beer.
AdvertisementPeyton said that up until 200 years ago, beer was considered a food and fell into the remit of women's work.
It was only then that men began drinking it and it became what is considered a very male drink.
Peyton has conducted extensive research into the origins of beer for a new book, and discovered to her surprise that a woman's touch was found on beer throughout the ages.
Nearly 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Sumeria, so important were their skills that they were the only ones allowed to brew the drink or run any taverns.
In almost all ancient societies, beer was also then considered to be a gift from a goddess, never a male God.
Between the eighth and tenth centuries AD, the Vikings spread terror by rampaging through Europe, fuelled by women-made ale.
Women were the exclusive brewers in Norse society and all equipment by law remained their property.
Ancient Finland also credits the creation of beer to the fairer sex, with three women, a bear's saliva and wild honey the apparent first ingredients.
In England, ale was traditionally made in the home by women. They were known as brewsters or ale-wives and the sale of the drink provided a valuable income for many households.
It quickly became an essential staple of the diet and even royalty indulged in the tasty beverage.
Queen Elizabeth I, like most people of the era, consumed it for breakfast and at other times of the day.
But, by the start of the late 18th century and the Industrial Revolution, new methods of making beer meant women's contribution slowly started to decline and be forgotten, until now.
According to Peyton, "I know men will be absolutely stunned to find this out, but they have got women to thank for beer."
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