Today, drinking straws are associated with kids’ juice boxes, soda fountains and iced coffee, but this technology's origins are twinned with the history of alcohol. Straws may have an inherent whimsy, but their development has been driven almost entirely from necessity, with their biggest innovations accompanied by societal shifts in liquor consumption.
Grainy Beer and Ancestral Straws
The Sumerians, Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Canaanites all independently developed straw-like devices for sipping the earliest "chunky style" fermented beverages, which, being unfiltered, contained a fair amount of grain flotsam. At their simplest, these straws were just reeds with small bores that wouldn't admit larger bits, but versions made from metal or precious stones have been found in tombs as old as 3,000 B.C.