When I give tours of the brewery, one of the most common questions I hear is "where do you put the alcohol in?" This article by Andy Coghlan of The New Scientist answers that question, along with a quick lesson in microbiology.
Next time you raise a glass of something alcoholic to your lips, spare a thought for the humble organism that makes it all possible. From the crudest home brew to the most exquisite champagne, the production of almost all alcoholic drinks depends on the single-celled fungus we call brewer's yeast.
Some time in the distant past Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to give it its full name, developed a chemical trick that would transform human societies. Some anthropologists have argued that the desire for alcohol was what persuaded our ancestors to become farmers and so led to the birth of civilisation. Whether that's true of not, alcohol has had a huge influence on our history and our prehistory.
Read the full article here.