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Beer, generically, is any alcoholic beverage produced through the fermentation of starchy material and which is not distilled after fermentation. The process of beer production is called brewing. Because the ingredients used to make beer differ from place to place, beer characteristics such as taste and color vary widely, and consequently its type or classification. One of the oldest beverages man has produced, dating back to at least the 5th millennium BC and recorded in the written history of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the character of beer has changed drastically over the millennia. The brewing industry is now a huge global business, and today consists mostly of conglomerates formed out of a multitude of smaller producers. While beer is generally an alcoholic beverage, some varieties exist, originating in the Western world, which undergo a process to remove most of the alcohol, producing what is called non-alcoholic beer.
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