Alcohol in Popular Culture

An Encyclopedia

by Rachel Black, Editor


The consumption of alcohol is interwoven throughout American history before, during, and after the Prohibition era of 1920–1933. Even in today's culture of social responsibility and anti-drunk-driving legislation, reaching the legal drinking age remains a major rite of passage in the United States, and drinking permeates every aspect of our modern culture.

Print Flyer

October 2010


Pages 229
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Popular Culture/General

This encyclopedia presents the many sides of America's ongoing relationship with alcohol, examining the political history, pivotal events, popular culture, and advances in technology that have affected its consumption.

From the constant advertising messages from beer, wine and liquor manufacturers to parties, weddings, and other social gatherings where alcohol is served to after-work happy hours with coworkers, the influence and presence of alcohol are inescapable in the United States. According to a government source, 50 percent of American adults identified themselves as "regular drinkers" (having at least 12 drinks in the past year).

This encyclopedia presents an overview of the entire history of alcohol in America from the first colonies to present day, focusing on the often-marginalized and pop culture aspects of alcohol use and misuse. Entries illuminate topics such as the favorite alcoholic beverages in America; how they are manufactured; the role of alcohol in everyday life, special events, and across history; the impacts of alcohol consumption on society and health; and much more. Connections and influences from outside the United States are also considered for some topics.


  • More than 100 A–Z entries describe the culture and history of alcohol, including the drinks themselves, concepts, business aspects, entertainment, regulations, social aspects, organizations, events, rituals, use in religions, and effects on health
  • Compiles all-original information from 32 distinguished international and American scholars and journalists
  • Offers a number of historical and contemporary photographs
  • Extensive bibliography provides additional suggested reading


  • First encyclopedia to look broadly at alcohol through a pop culture lens
  • Provides an unprecedented insight into the cultural phenomenon of alcohol in America, presenting both the positive and negative aspects of U.S. drinking culture
  • Written in an authoritative yet approachable style that appeals to a wide reading audience
Author Info

Rachel Black, PhD, is assistant professor in the gastronomy program at Boston University. Her published works include articles about mineral water, urban agriculture, and open-air markets in Europe and the forthcoming book, Porta Palazzo: Food, Place and Community at the Market.



"Most appropriate for larger public and academic libraries where there is a need."—Library Journal

"This volume will appeal to a wide range of readers, students, and researchers in public and academic libraries."—Booklist

"Valuable for its focus on marginalized and pop culture aspects of alcohol use and misuse. . . . The interdisciplinary nature of this encyclopedia makes it a reference that may serve many purposes."—Choice

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