Some of humanity's earliest known writings refer to the production and distribution of beer: the Code of Hammurabi included laws regulating beer and beer parlours, and "The Hymn to Ninkasi", a prayer to the Mesopotamian goddess of beer, served as both a prayer and as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people.
Beer is distributed in bottles and cans and is also commonly available on draught, particularly in pubs and bars. The brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. The strength of modern beer is usually around 4% to 6% alcohol by volume (ABV), although it may vary between 0.5% and 20%, with some breweries creating examples of 40% ABV and above.
Beer forms part of the culture of many nations and is associated with social traditions such as beer festivals, as well as a rich pub culture involving activities like pub crawling and pub games.
When beer is distilled, the resulting liquor is a form of whisky.
^Richard Rudgley (1993). The Alchemy of Culture: Intoxicants in Society. London: British Museum Press. ISBN978-0714117362.
^John P Arnold (2005). Origin and History of Beer and Brewing: From Prehistoric Times to the Beginning of Brewing Science and Technology. Cleveland, Ohio: Reprint Edition by BeerBooks. ISBN978-0-9662084-1-2.