Triple correlation between archaic beers, primeval agriculture and advanced societies.


The triple correlation designates the protohistoric connection, both geographical and chronological, between the domestication centres of starchy plants, the most advanced societies after the transition from the Neolithic period and the oldest traces of beer identified to date.


The oldest material traces of brewing are located within the areas of starchy plant primary domestication.

After the first use of the starchy crops grown in each of these areas, the beer brewing only emerges after one to several millennia, and a more or less long period of social and technical adaptation.

There is a third correspondence between the nature of the domesticated plants and the types of beer produced in each domestication area, as far back as the archaeological data and the documents allow us to go in a distant past. These beers differ in the origin of the starch and the nature of the plants used. Table 4 covers the primary and secondary domestication areas[1]. It confirms the expected link, both technical and historical, between local starch resources, type of brewed beers and ancient regional brewing traditions.

The first brewers, male or female, made their beers with what they had on hand. Every starch resources has been exploited throughout history, even the most unexpected ones, such as potatoes, carob fruit, marrow of the sago palm or water-lily seeds.



Domestication areas 


Domesticated starchy plants

Archaïc traditionnal beers


Barley, blés,  oats, pulses, peas

Barley or emmer wheat beers



Barley or wheat beers

India and Pakistan

Six-rows barley?

Barley, rice, mung-bean beers

Tibetan Tableland/Himalaya


Barley and eleusine beers

Northeastern China/Korea


Millet or wheat beers

Southern China

Rice, millet, peas

Rice beers

Southeastern Asia

Plantain, taro, yam

Rice, taro beers

Philippines, Indonesia

Plantain, taro, yams

Taro, yam, sagou-palm beers



Rice beers



Emmer wheat and Barley beers


Tef, eleusine, dura

Tef, eleusine, dure wheat beers

Sub-saharian Africa

Sorgho, mil, yam, rice

Sorgho and mil beers

Eastern Africa

Plantain banana

Banana beers (Great Lakes region)

Central America/Mexico

Maize, bean

Maize and bean beers

Andean America

Potatoes, chenopods

Maize, potatoes, quinoa beers

Guyana and Caribean

Sweet potato

Cassave and sweet potato beers



Cassava beers

South America

Carob tree

Carob beers(South Argentina)

North America




Lentille, rye

Barley, wheat, rye beers

Kinds/types of beer according to the world regions of starchy plants domestication.


Pointing out these geographical and chronological coincidences does not exhaust the question of the emergence of the beer brewing. If the primitive societies that developed in each area of starchy plants domestication were conditioned by these same cultivated species, these material specificities should have left their mark on the brewing techniques specific to each area. This introduces the notion of the beer brewing basins.

Note that Europe is neither a primary nor a secondary area for the domestication of starchy plants. It is unlikely that Europe is an original primitive beer brewing basin. And it is doubtful that primitive beers, original brewing techniques and societies originally based on beer were born here. But Europe of the Bell Beaker cultures may have borrowed or adapted some brewing traditions from the Near East, Central Asia or North Africa (via Spain) in the 3rd millennium BC or before.




[1] A secondary area of domestication encompasses the regions of diversification and expansion of the first domesticated species. The mechanisms of diversification: hybridization, genetic recombination, human selection, etc.

07/11/2020  Christian Berger