Mankind has been brewing alcoholic drinks since ancient times. Egyptians produced wine and beer for everyday consumption starting around 4,000 B.C., and by the Middle Ages, in Europe, many people drank ale or beer daily.
A number of modern breweries and vineyards started as part of a monastery where monks produced top-quality beer and wine both to drink and to sell, and then passed their recipes down to generations of fellow monks, before the brands were privatized or nationalized much later.
The following brands are among the oldest making and selling alcohol today, often under the ownership of the same families or companies that started them. Note: This isn’t a comprehensive list. The first eight brands on the list date to medieval times and are still made today. Brands later in the list, appearing from the 16th century on, were chosen for their unusual back stories and/or geographical diversity.