D Introduction Alcohol has been an integral part of human culture since the beginning of civilization. The earliest known piece of writing mentioning alcohol is a clay tablet found in the Middle East that bears a recipe for a fermented beverage identical to modern-day beer. These types of historical references to alcohol can be found in almost all societies and cultures. In fact, The Dialogues of Plato appear to have stemmed from rather drunken evenings at Plato's friend Alcibiades' house. A reading of the works indicates that a great deal of wine was consumed during the development of these discussions. The Mead Hall in Beowulf is named for a sweet fermented drink which can be found readily in modern-day England. A good portion of Thomas Jefferson's more rhapsodic writings relays his fondness for claret (red wine from Bordeaux). In his day, in at least some circles, Jefferson was as well known for his wine cellar as he was for his intellect and accomplishments. It appears that alcohol and all its related forms have been an important element of American culture from the beginning to the present.