hist-brewing: ergot, water

isenhour at uiuc.edu isenhour at uiuc.edu
Fri Jan 14 09:38:32 PST 2000


Richard typed:
 
 Well, I do know that the reason why wine was the drink of choice in
those days was because the water was considered tainted by ergot since
the rain washed the ergot into the water supply.

Also, water borne bacteria has always been a problem, even today you
see bacterial outbreaks in the US, and as late as 1854 there was an
epidemic cholera outbreak in London where brewery workers a block
from the infected pump did not get sick, the brewery owner said as far
as he knew, the brewery workers drank no water at all (which helped
determine the source) (Tufte 1997, pp 27-34)

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