Specific Alcohols of the world and their respective Geographic conditions
Alcohol ranks third among the most consumed beverages in the world. Different societies practiced alcoholism for various reasons, leading to Geo alcoholism. Geo alcoholism refers to the production and consumption of specific alcohol brands, in particular, regions. The alcohol belt categories are beer, wine, and whiskey. Each belt or region was synonymous with a particular alcohol type consumed and produced within the belt. Production of alcohol is dependent on the geographical conditions, before the advancement of technology in producing alcohol. Some of the geographical conditions that affect production and consumption of alcohol include; geographical features, precipitation, vegetation and population movement. Today, the different alcohol types are consumed globally depending on availability, cultural consideration, health policies and prices of available brands. The essay evaluates the how the geographical conditions in the area affect production and consumption of alcohol in the alcohol belts.
Geographical features hugely affected the production and consumption of alcohol in the three belts (Gruenewald and Andrew 540). Geographical features are God-made or human-made bodies within the surface of the earth. Ecosystems, water bodies, mountains, valleys, swamps are classic examples of geographical features. The existence of geographical features determines the soil type and plants were growing within that certain area.
Countries within the Vodka Belt are Russia, Poland, Baltic nations, Belarus, Nordic nations and Ukraine. Vodka produced by the nations’ accounts for more than 70% of the total world production. The vodka belt countries produce the beverage by fermenting grains, potatoes or grapes. The production process involves fermentation to produce ethanol later distilled to make vodka (Kravets 370). Poland accounts for the highest production of the main ingredients in vodka production. The soil type in Northern Poland is fertile, porous and suitable for agricultural production. Moreover, the existence of large bodies within Eastern Europe has geographically enabled the nations to produce the ingredients in large quantities. Consequently, the geographical features hugely affected the production and consumption of vodka in the belt.
The beer belt historically encompasses Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, parts of France, Netherlands, Slovakia, Czech and Ireland. The beer belt is synonymous with the production of barley and hops, the main ingredients of beer in the ancient beer belt. However, beer makers use yeast and flavourings, as alternative ingredients (Meussdoerffer 12). The fertile soils in Western Europe allowed the nations to mass produce barley and import hops to flavour the drinks. Moreover, residents used the Rhine River to expand irrigation schemes within the region to increase production of the ingredients. The favourable geographical conditions allowed the beer belt nations popularize consumption of beer within the area.
Wine belt nations are within the coastal regions South of Europe, where the soils and other geographical features are suitable for wine production. The wine belt consists of countries such as Switzerland, Spain, Bulgaria, Portugal, Macedonia, Hungary, Greece, Serbia, and Croatia. Italy is the largest exporter of wine in the world. The fertile soils in the region are suitable for large scale production of grapes. Moreover, the existence of water bodies within the area and a balanced geographical system further supports the production of grapes in the region.
Vegetation is the geographical classification of areas according to climatic conditions existent in the area. Vegetation mainly consists of rainforest, wetlands, deserts, and grasslands. The different alcohol belts are within different vegetation areas. Each vegetation area has significant features such as temperature conditions, rainfall conditions and vegetative cover within the regions. The vodka belt primarily constitutes of the wetlands and the temperate rainforests. The areas under the wetlands are swampy and usually rainy. The areas experience lower temperatures annually, averaging 0-26 degrees Celsius annually. The temperate rainforest areas experience prolonged periods of winter and summer. The extreme weather conditions are suitable for short maturing plants like potatoes, some grains and seasonal grapes. The vodka belt mass produced the ingredients to achieve large scale production of vodka. Moreover, the climatic conditions supported the agricultural production of the crops.
The beer belt is largely under the temperate zones and the Mediterranean zones. The temperate zones are mostly in Germany while the Mediterranean zones are in most parts of the United Kingdom. The beer belt experiences mild climatic conditions due to the effects of the Gulf oceans. The zone experiences significantly wetter and drier seasons than similar places in the same latitude. Temperature conditions vary but are higher than similar areas sharing same latitudinal positions. The areas have vast forest covers, a key source of the rains within the region. The conditions are suitable for the agricultural production of barley and hops. The wine belt mainly comprises of the Mediterranean zones and small parts of the belt within the temperate zone. The corresponding climatic conditions are appropriate for the production of grapes, essential ingredients for wine production (Jackson 17). The belt experiences a warmer climate than the other belts. The zone experiences higher rainfall than other areas. The geographical condition enhanced the production and consumption of wine within the belts.
The alcohol belts classified according to precipitation revealed a preference for certain alcohol types, unlike others. Precipitation is the formation of water droplets from water vapour within the atmosphere causing rain. Precipitation may also cause snow or hail storms. The varying conditions of precipitation levels within the different alcohol belts have resulted in geo alcoholism. The Koppen classification technique clearly classifies the precipitative conditions within the belts. The vodka belt primarily falls under the Hemi boreal climatic classification. The belt has relatively lower precipitation levels, usually accounting for the longer cold seasons. Some parts of the zone experience extreme weather conditions resulting in snows or glaciers. However, the expansive terrain within the area experiences differing precipitate levels. The zone has a higher humid and dew point levels, sufficient for the growth of grains, grapes and potatoes.
The beer belt mainly falls under the Oceanic climatic zone. The climatic conditions change consistently due to the polar fronts. The region faces cooler summers and cloudy winters due to the existence of ocean currents. Humidity levels in the zone are usually high resulting in consistent rainfall throughout the year. The mild conditions experienced in the region, result from higher temperature levels due to the heat conditions of the shallow oceans within the zone. The levels of precipitation are suitable for barley and hops production. The wine belt majorly falls under the Mediterranean climatic zone. The region experiences modest temperatures with varying rainy weather during the year. Summers are hotter except coastal areas that are likely to experience milder weather conditions. Humidity levels vary within the year allowing for the growth of grapes in large scale in the region. Consequently, precipitation was a critical geographical condition that affected geo alcoholism.
Human mobility within the belts resulted in specialization and consumption of certain alcohol brands with the belts. Geographical mobility precludes the measurement of the movement of people around the world. Migration patterns both in ancient and modern times reveal similar reasons for migration. Migration influenced production and consumption of alcohol in different parts of the world. Vodka initially produced in Poland was later transported to Russia by a trader. Vodka at the time was believed to be curative and a healthy drink. The aristocrats in Poland majorly took the beverage for the beverage’s herbalistic appeal. The drink soon became popular in USSR, eventually leading to mass production of the drink. Similarly, beer drinking in the beer belt was a common practice in the zone. Beer originally produced in Ireland gradually became common in the beer belt. Wine consumption and production were rather spontaneous though the Romans lay credence to originally producing the beverage. The movement resulted in cultural integration, notably wine consumption amongst the Romans. Consumption of alcohol today is dependent on cultures, assumed health benefits and government policies on alcohol production and consumption. Consequently, the spread of alcohol production techniques and consumption was as a result of migration.
Conclusively, region specific alcohol production and consumption are dependent on the existing geographical conditions. Geo alcoholism grew as a consequence of the establishment of alcohol belts within certain regions in the world. Vodka, beer and wine were the main alcohol drinks in the eighteenth century. The geographical features such as the soil type and the water bodies within the belt enabled the regions to produce and consume specific alcohol in other regions. Moreover, the differing climatic conditions existent in the regions further enhanced specialization and popularization of certain alcohol brands in certain regions. Furthermore, precipitation and human migration had affected the choice of alcohol brands within the belts. Consequently, region specific alcohol brands were dependent on geographical conditions existing within the belts.
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