More than ten years ago when The Sureshot was first published there was one main issue the editors had with my story; alcohol. They didn’t catch a hundred spelling and grammar errors, they weren’t interested in improving the story arch, nor character depth nor conflict resolutions. Nope. The biggest issue the chief editor had was that my characters drank alcohol.
I had not even thought about it when I wrote the story. The setting reflected medieval Europe and so when I wrote it I had characters drinking mead or ale. I didn’t do it to promote drinking. In fact, I didn’t even know why I wrote it like that except that in any story I ever heard of about medieval Europe, including most of the Disney stories, they drank alcoholic beverages. I didn’t know why, that’s just what they did. The editor said to take it out (they were Bible belt protestants) so I wrote generic “drink” in place of things like mead or ale.
I always thought the edit was stupid and continue to believe that. I did research on why people drank alcohol and mostly it was because of the lack of clean water, lack of refrigeration and besides, it can get your drunk!
It turns out that even today, many microbes live in water. Bacteria cause millions to get sick and many of those to die every year in the 21st century. In the days before bottled and purified water, only boiled water was safe and who wanted to boil water every time you were thirsty? No one. Alcohol is fermented to the point where the yeast, as well as any bacteria, die. I even saw a video where some people used water from a duck pond to make beer. They measured the level and types of bacteria in the water before the fermentation process and it was essentially deadly. After they made the water to make beer there was zero bacteria in it. So it is simple, beer is much safer to drink.
Needless to say, I wrote alcohol back into the story so cheers!