When Doomsday happened at least 75% of the world's alcohol supply was destroyed. Now, only few countries produce and export alcoholic beverages, and the supply seems to be shortening with every passing year.
At least 70% of the world's wine crops were destroyed or left fallow during Doomsday, and now only three known areas on the planet now produce Viticulture for export. Prior to Doomsday, South American wineries were rather isolated from the wider world, and viewed with disdain from first-world Viticulture. However, they are now the world's top producer of wines. Remnant states of the former U.S. now known as the Municipal States of the Pacific and the Chumash Republic are the only known areas in the former United States that produce wine. There has been some effort in Canadian remnant states to produce wine in hopes of filling the Viticultural vacuum. The MSP does not export much wine but still maintains a presence on the world stage. The Chumash Republic on the other hand maintains Viticulture as the main-stay of their economy. The former region of Brittany in France, now part of the Celtic Alliance, still maintains vineyards and is the last place that produces French-style wines for export. Vietnam has earned a decent income exporting its native wines following its reopening to foreign trade in 1993.
It is expected that renewed contact with mainland France will see a rise in exports of French wine. While the French wine industry did take a hard hit, production continued and remained a valued commodity traded around Europe, although not with any sort of wholesale distribution, such as existed prior to Doomsday
Champagne (Sparkling White Wine)
The Champagne region of France was not heavily irradiated in Doomsday, but due to economic collapse in France most farms and distilleries in that area are not currently in operation. Champagne itself is the most expensive liquor on the planet, and it is usually kept as a collectible, or sold or bartered at incredibly high value to the best bidder. Sparkling White Wine, though not as expensive as Champagne, is still very highly priced. The only known producers of this type for export are in South America, and for local consumption, the North American Union, Canada, and Virginia. Although many countries in South America still export this type of alcohol, it is the most expensive due to the cost of the process.
With renewed contact between the remnant states of Lille-et-Terres-Flamande, Bourgogne-et-Franche-Comté and the Pacific-based French-remnant government, Champagne may become a more attainable commodity in the years to come.
Wines made from fruit and other plant matter have traditionally been popular with home winemakers, particularly in countries without a history of Viticulture, a state of affairs which continued post-Doomsday. Although non-grape wines are far inferior to the grape variety and often require the addition of sugar or honey to make them palatable, many of the home-brewed varieties have the advantage of being made from hedgerow fruits and weeds such as elderberries, rose hips or dandelions, so their production has little to no effect on agriculture. Add in a widespread demand for alcohol and grape-free wines often ended up taking the place of grape varieties when the supply of the latter dried up, with distinct regional preferences for different wines. For instance, elderberry wine is highly popular in the British Isles, to the point that elderberry has acquired the nickname "the Englishman's grape", while in Finland cherry wine (kijafa) and a blueberry based drink with the rather colourful name "Lappish Hag's Love Potion" are popular. Most production is still on the scale of home-brewing or cottage industry, but in areas that were relatively unaffected by Doomsday there is some commercial production, a good example being the Tedeschi Vineyards in Hawaii which produce pineapple wine.
Humankind has drunk beer since the earliest days of agriculture. It may predate even the invention of bread, and according to the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh it is one of the hallmarks of civilized man. So while grain crops suffered the same fate as the vineyards in the years immediately after Doomsday, beer could never be completely wiped out. Although wheat, barley, and other grains are still grown all over the world - and the radiation has led to the emergence of new cultivars - the world's leading hops producers were seriously damaged. Beer has taken on a different, and often sweeter, taste in many places. Hops production in New Zealand, however, has picked up to meet the demand for beer that "tastes right" in the southern hemisphere.
Both beer and its honey-based relative, mead, have become staple drinks in many parts of the world. Just as it was for the earliest drinkers, one of the brewing process's main benefits is as a form of water purification. That is to say, even in relatively stable survivor states, beer is often safer than most available drinking water. Heating and alcoholic content destroy virtually all pathogens. However, the trend towards a heavier concentration of alcohol that had begun in many beers in the 1970's has been reversed. Consequently, the consumption of beer has increased within the general population.
Because of the economic collapse and subsequent lawlessness, most of the major brewers of the world have disappeared and small, local or regional breweries have become the standard. With renewed contact, these brewers, especially in the remnant states of the United States and Canada, beer export has become one of the most lucrative businesses. In recent years, several small breweries have been set up throughout the Kingdom of Cleveland, particularly in the counties of west Yorkshire to brew ales, bitters and mead. In the Duchy of Lancaster, beer production is dominated by the Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn, which was founded in 1807 and was mothballed after Doomsday when the town was partly evacuated, despite the brewery being in a 'safe' area, with brewing being resumed in the mid-nineties. The last remaining major brewer of beer remains Guinness, based in Ireland and now the world's top exporter of beer.
In the southern hemisphere, beer brewing was never very popular in South America and has only recently begun to gain any sort of recognition. However, beverages made in a similar fashion, and classed as "beer" by some, are popular in local areas. In Anglophone and Francophone communities, however, beer is as popular as it ever was in the northern hemisphere. Due to its crops of hops, the ANZC member state of New Zealand has become a leading producer of traditional beers in the whole southern hemisphere. New Britain, often at odds with the ANZC, nevertheless keeps in good business relations largely so they can produce the English beers that keep their culture what it is.
Vodka is the cheapest liquor in Eastern Europe and around the more civilized world as it was in Russia prior to Doomsday. Siberia is the largest exporter of vodka, followed by Iceland. Because of its isolated nature, Siberia did not suffer the loss of infrastructure and thus was able to capture the market for alcohol.
The biggest producer of Whiskey in the world is now the Celtic Alliance, with the Jameson's brand leading in popularity, while the remnant state in Tennessee continues producing smaller amounts of the brand Jack Daniels. South American whiskeys are relatively unheard of. Due to the current economic climate, most investors will not favor whiskey, but the more readily accessible vineyard or brewery.
Scotch is more commonly produced in Scotland (Celtic Alliance), but is not widely exported or consumed. Scotches from other countries are unheard of.
Due to the nuclear fallout, whiskey production in the region has greatly plummeted.
For over two hundred years corn whiskey, also called moonshine in the former South of the United States, was illegal. Similar statutes existed in almost all countries. After Doomsday, again, due to fears of the drinking water, many countries relaxed their laws, allowing wider production of moonshine. While micro-distilleries exist around the world, the top producers are found in Virginia, what remains of Tennessee, and some parts of Florida.
Poi-chin / Poteen
Based on the Irish moonshine drink Poitín (the basis of the Irish song 'The Rare Old Mountain Dew'), both poi-chin and poteen are brewed and distilled from potatoes in the Kingdom of Cleveland and Duchy of Lancaster respectively, however there are a number of differences due to different recipes and preferences.
The recipe for poi-chin was brought over to what is now Cleveland by Irish immigrants in the late 1870's. A highly potent alcoholic drink (roughly 60-80% ABV)it is probably the strongest alcoholic beverages produced in the Kingdom of Cleveland and it is renowned for the fact that it is possible for the drinker to get intoxicated again the morning after drinking it by drinking water and thereby bringing the remaining ethanol back into solution. Due to the high alcohol content many public houses will not serve poi-chin to under 25's (the drinking age in Cleveland is 18) however, this is not law and is usually the publican's preference.
In terms of flavour, it is something of an acquired taste, resulting in some varieties being flavoured by adding soft fruits (such as blackberries or sloes) to the mix, however this can, on occasions, cause re-fermentation, causing the alcohol content to increase further.
The recipe for poteen was likewise brought to what is now the Duchy of Lancaster from Ireland, although the date at which this occurred is harder to pin down. Unlike Cleveish poi-chin, poteen was only legalised and commercially produced relatively recently, although it had been produced illicitly since before Doomsday, however the results were highly variable and often downright dangerous. In fact, its legalisation was largely due to it being the only effective way of drastically reducing the number of poisoning cases. The two main differences between poteen and its Clevish relative are that it is somewhat less potent at an average of 40% ABV, making it comparable to vodka, and herbal flavourings tend to be favoured over fruit ones, a detail rumoured to originate from spectacularly unsuccessful attempts to create something resembling Bénédictine which was popular in Lancashire, and particularly Burnley, prior to Doomsday.
Due to the difference the two related beverages, there is an ongoing (and most likely never ending) argument between drinkers in both countries regarding which is better.
Cider continues to be popular throughout the British Isles, as well as in some other parts of northern Europe. It is one of the main exports of the small English nation of Woodbridge. Outside Europe, cider is an important drink in Argentina, New England, and Superior.