Western Civilization would not have been possible without alcohol. The only way you can have a dense population is if you can find way of making your water safe to drink. Europeans managed this through beer and wine. This is proven through evolution. In most of the non-European world, only about half of the population is born with the enzymes to digest alcohol. In Europe the proportion is 90 percent. Those without the enzymes rarely made it to adulthood and have been slowly bred out of the population.In Asia, civilization was possible because they developed hot beverages and had lots of spices with antiseptic properties. There, evolution favored those who like spicy food. When Muslim civilization gave up wine drinking, they adopted tea as a replacement.