Traditional cultures drank alcoholic beverages that were made through a no-heat natural fermentation process out of high quality ingredients. The result was a beverage low in alcohol and rich in enzymes and minerals, a very far cry from today's alcoholic beverages.
It was Louis Pasteur who introduced his special heat process to wine and beer producers who were then being threatened by moldy, inferior grape and grain crops. Pasteur's technique resulted in a product fairly indistinguishable from the more painstaking fermentation process, and it was through the beer and wine industry that Pasteur made his money.
By 1898, "fake" whiskey was becoming a cause for deep concern by Dr. Harvey Wiley, then head of the Bureau of Chemistry and future administrator of the original FDA stemming from The Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1906. Because of Dr. Wiley's monumental efforts to eliminate harmful food products from the market, he was forced out of office in 1912 by the same politically powerful forces he labored against. He then wrote about his experiences - but all his original manuscripts disappeared when he tried to get them published! Not to be deterred Dr. Wiley painstakingly reconstructed to the best of his ability his lost work, and self published under the title History of a Crime Against the Food Law, which also disappeared from book shelves and libraries within weeks of his death in 1929, shortly after publication.
A manuscript was later recovered and the text appears online. In Chapter Three, Dr. Wiley discusses the problem with "fake" whiskey with an excerpt as follows:
"As early as 1898 the question of the character of distilled alcoholic beverages became quite acute. A heavy tax was laid on manufactured alcohol, both for beverage and industrial use. A great change had been made in the method of making pure alcohol. The continuous still, an implement which was continuously charged with fermented mash and which continuously produced a very pure spirit revolutionized the process of distillation and made pure untaxed alcohol remarkably cheap. This method of making neutral spirit was entirely different from the manufacture of beverage whiskey. The Congress of the United States had legalized the mixing of genuine whiskey with this neutral spirit, and coloring and flavoring the mixture by an Act defining rectifying. The so-called rectified product was placed on the market under the name and appearance of the genuine article. Existing law provided no penalties for this fraud."
Since that time things have gone from bad to worse for alcholic beverages. Here is the way Dr. Ron Schmid tells it in his book :
''"Because alcoholic beverages are not regulated by the FDA, a wide variety of toxic ingredients found in liquor and most wines and beers are not listed on the label. These substances include ammonia, asbestos residues, coloring and flavoring agents, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, lead residues, mineral oil, methylene chloride, plastic, pesticide residues, and sulfur compounds. . .
''"Many people enjoy an occasional beer, especially in hot weather. German law allows only the use of hops, malt and water in the brewing process; imported German beers are thus quite pure. Some other imported beers (and several American beers also) are made from only natural ingredients without the use of chemicals or preservatives, as are a few American and imported wines. . . [but again the label will not tell you this]
"Ingredients and equipment for making beer and wine at home are available. Unlike commercial beer, home brew need not be pasteurized before bottling; thus enzymes natural to the fermented raw product are left undisturbed. Advances in the equipment, techniques, and raw materials available have made it possible to home-brew beer healthier than any available commercially for a fraction of the cost. Carefully made, such beer may equal the taste of the finest imported beers."