Alcoholic beverages are unique in that they have the power to simultaneously provide one pleasure, while depress their physiological processes. Cultural consideration vary concerning alcoholic beverages, for that reason, along with many others. While many cultures, like the Irish, may wholly embrace this formidable pastime, it is oftentimes shunned upon in certain religious circles throughout the world. In health care, alcoholic beverages are generally disapproved of in conjunction with patient teaching because of the profound negative consequences that alcoholic beverage interaction can have with particular medication regimens.

With ethanol providing the chemical basis for alcohol, alcohol beverages have come to be globally recognized in accordance to three general classes: beer, wine and spirits. While each has established a predominant cultural foothold, in certain locations throughout the world, alcoholic beverage consumption has become so widespread and appealing that it is not uncommon to find a multitude of bars, or social events, that will serve any combination of those three general classes. For example, vodka is a staple of Russian culture in much the same way that the Irish cherish their beer and the Italians hail their wine.

Beer, as an alcoholic beverage, has solidified itself as the oldest and most widely consumed drink, in comparison to its counterparts: wine and spirits. With references occurring in even the oldest of English literature and historical documents (like the Code of Hammurabi), beer has more recently been embraced by a variety of companies that have taken their beer products to market under different names and brands. Even though tastes do diverge in accordance with the type and brew of beer, along with it's specific cultural origins, all beer is produced by similar processes including the brewing and fermentation of starches, which are mainly derived from cereal grains like malted barley.

Alcoholic beverage consumption does play a major role in, not only the economy of these countries, but it also promotes general social interaction because of its inherent ability to alter one's mood significantly. Public opinion, in some circles, has promoted the use of alcoholic beverages in 'moderation', however 'moderation' can also be a very subjective phenomena. What may be too much alcohol to one person may not even come close to being enough to elicit the same effect. For this reason, alcohol has varying effects on the human body because it is essentially a psychoactive drug with a effect that is inherently depressive in nature.