From a shortlist of 100, the United Kingdom’s Royal Society of leading scientists has distilled a top 20 for the greatest inventions throughout the history of food and drink. The four criteria were accessibility, productivity, aesthetics and health.
In first place came refrigeration, dating back to 1748. Second was pasteurisation, successfully tested in 1862. Third was canning, originally patented in 1810.
These all beat irrigation and the plough, fishing nets and eating utensils.
Others of particular beverage interest are fermentation at 11th, the cork at 17th and the barrel at 18th.
Further details are available at royalsociety.org.