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Ginger beer

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Ginger beer is a carbonated drink that is flavored primarily with ginger and sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Most ginger beer produced commercially is a manufactured soft drink. The original version, rarely produced commercially since the mid-20th century but often home brewed, is a brewed alcoholic beverage.

The original recipe requires only ginger, sugar, and water, to which is added a gelatinous substance called "ginger beer plant". Fermentation over a few days turns the mixture into ginger beer.

Other forms of live culture than the ginger beer plant can produce a fermented ginger beer. Cultures used include brewers or baker's yeast, lactic acid bacteria, kefir grains, and tibicos. Brewing ginger beer generates carbon dioxide as in beer. The alcohol content when produced by the traditional process can be high, up to 11%, although ginger beer is usually brewed with much less alcohol.

Brewed ginger beer often includes other flavorings, such as lemon or lime juice.


Brewed ginger beer originated in England in the mid-18th century and became popular in Britain, the United States, and Canada, reaching a peak of popularity in the early 20th century.

Brewed ginger beer was brought to the Ionian Islands by the British Army in the 19th century, and is still made as a local specialty known as "tsitsibíra" by villagers in rural Corfu.

Today ginger beer is almost always produced as a soft drink. Ginger beer and ginger ale as soft drinks have been moderately popular in many parts of the world since they were introduced.

Soft drink

The beverage produced industrially is not brewed (fermented), but carbonated with pressurized carbon dioxide. It does not contain alcohol (although some might contain less than 0.5%) and is sold as a soft drink, sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Commercial ginger beer is similar to ginger ale except that it has a significantly stronger ginger taste and is sometimes described as ginger ale with a kick. It may be cloudy, is sweet, and has a spicy ginger taste. Cloudy versions tend to still have small pieces of ginger in them, which usually means a heavier ginger taste than the clearer types.

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