The first known writings about beer go back more than 5 000 years BC, originating in Mesopotamia. We know that beer arrived in Europe in 5 000 – 4 800 BC, following two geographical currents: along the Danube (Eastern Europe) and along the Mediterranean coast (Southern France).
Contrary to what is widely believed, beer was produced and consumed very early on in Greece and in the Roman Empire, before being partially replaced by wine. The Romans had indeed created breweries all along the Mediterranean coast line.
The Germanic people and the Gauls adopted beer a century before our era, and brewed it using malted barley, wheat and oat, as well as honey and spices such as ginger.
At the time, beer was referred to as cervoise or barley beer. This term referred to the legend that Cérès, goddess of harvest and cereals, had discovered cervoise and had passed on its secret to the people whose land was unfit for viticulture.
Its growing popularity was due, amongst other things, to the fact that safe water supplies were scarce, while those available usually contained germs.