In 1895, in order to bring down its price, a distillation tax was imposed, from which a refund was paid on alcohol used for other than beverage purposes.
The early history of tea as a beverage is mainly traditional.
Here the most indistinct and dubious tradition says that once a tavern stood; the well the same, which tempered the traveller's beverage and refreshed his steed.
It is doubtful, therefore, whether the products of the British Empire will ever displace European wines in the United Kingdom on a really large scale, for they cannot compete at present as regards quality with the finer wines of Europe, nor, for the reason stated, with the lighter beverage wines.
The Mexicans understood digging channels for irrigation, especially for the cultivation of the cacahuatl, from which they taught the Europeans to prepare the beverage chocollatl; these native names passed into English as the words cacao, or coco and chocolate.
The assai (Euterpe oleracea) is another highly-prized palm because of a beverage made from its fruit along the lower Amazon.
The dried leaves and smaller twigs of mate (Paraguayan tea-hlex paraguayensis) are exported to the southern Spanish American republics, where (as in Rio Grande do Sul) the beverage is exceedingly popular.
These, which would be suitable for ordinary beverage purposes, cannot as a rule stand the passage through the Red Sea, and it is therefore only possible to ship the heavier or fortified wines.
In the modern days of machine-made black tea, produced under British supervision, both the tea-taster and the ordinary consumer have to deal with a product which, if carefully converted into a beverage and used in moderation, should be harmless to all normal human beings.
The use of the kava root, here called yanggona, from which the well-known national beverage is made, is said to have been introduced from Tonga.