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Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages

An alcoholic drink, or alcoholic beverage, is a drink that contains alcohol (ethanol), a depressant which in low doses causes euphoria, reduced anxiety, and sociability and in higher doses causes intoxication (drunkenness), stupor and unconsciousness. Long-term use can lead to alcohol abuse, physical dependence, and alcoholism.

Drinking alcohol plays an important social role in many cultures. Most countries have laws regulating the production, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Some countries ban such activities entirely, but alcoholic drinks are legal in most parts of the world.

Alcoholic drinks are typically divided into three classes—beers, wines, and spirits—and typically contain between 3% and 40% of alcohol by volume.

Discovery of late Stone Age jugs suggest that intentionally fermented drinks existed at least as early as the Neolithic period (cir. 10,000 BC). Many animals also consume alcohol when given the opportunity and are affected in much the same way as humans, although humans are the only species known to produce alcoholic drinks intentionally.