Barbarian Beer

Modern Beer Consumption
(gallons per year)

It is true that, on average, such a modern Italian man drinks 11.0 U.S. gallons of beer per year (see www.alcoweb.com), something almost all Romans would have regarded as barbaric:

"The nations of the West also have their own intoxicant, made from grain soaked in water; there are a number of ways of making it in the various provinces of Gaul and Spain and under difference names, although the principle is the same....Egypt also has devised for itself similar drinks made from grain, and in no part of the world is drunkenness ever out of action. In fact, they quaff liquors of this kind neat, not tempering their strength by diluting them, as is done with wine." (Pliny, Natural HistoryXIV.149)

It is true too, that that Italians produce and drink quite a lot of home-grown wine that does not appear in the official tax-based estimates. But this share of the market is nowhere near large enough to provide a modern Italian man with the 53 U.S. gallons per year required that would match the consumption of his ancient counterpart.