It turns out that this question has interested scientists and philosophers for thousands of years.
For most of human history, people thought that “spirits” inhabited the wine or beer. This is why we call alcoholic drinks “spirits” today.
However Louis Pasteur discovered yeast around the mid 1800’s, and that’s how we learned that actually it was the by-product of yeast cells that put the “spirit” (ethanol) into the drink.
Even so, it wasn’t until relatively recently that scientists learned how ethanol actually causes drunkenness. By understanding this, we have a better idea of how alcohol affects our health and steps we can take to enjoy alcohol with minimal risk.
If you consume alcohol regularly, then it is probably a good idea for you to learn a little bit about how it affects your body. Our article “What Causes Drunkenness” will give you a brief overview.