A recent study found that people were brewing beer with barley in China 5000 years ago. What’s interesting, though, is that barley didn’t become a staple crop for food in China until about 2000 years ago.
We often think of certain alcoholic drinks as being accidental byproducts of food: “Uh, honey, I think this cider has gone bad, but I better drink some to be sure… hey, this is strangely delicious and my legs feel tingly… did I ever tell you how beautiful you look?”
Well, in a bit of a switcheroo, barley as food may have been a byproduct of a few thousand years of brewing alcohol. Maybe sometime during the Zhou Dynasty there was a slow brewing day and a hungry brewer decided to eat some barley, and voila, a staple crop was born. Proving once again that accident is the mother of invention.