Estelle Comte, Denis Mellinger, L’ivresse de la bataille : la consommation d’alcool sur le front 14-18, Département de la Meuse, 2016. ISBN : 978-2-36186-034-9, unavailable.


This was published to mark the exhibition organised at the Stenay Beer Museum from 1 July to 1 December 2016, as part of the First World War Centenary commemorations.

Like letters and food, alcohol played an important role on the frontline during the First World War. In the hell that was the trenches, wine, beer and liqueurs were supplied in large quantities in order to make the terrible living conditions more bearable, to care for minor ailments, to bring people together and to obliterate negative thoughts. The authorities also bestowed certain alcohols with a patriotic element that other foodstuffs did not possess. This publication explores a taboo subject and seeks to temper received ideas. This is the story of “plonk” and “the hard stuff” told through various themes: the consumption of alcohol on the front, particularly the German front, and the refuelling and production processes, as well as the impacts of the war on the history of alcohol.