Water will cease to be potable in the next five years. A previously unknown pathogen will find its way into our water supplies, and, despite our best efforts, will render drinking water unsafe. It will be something that cannot be boiled out or strained out, and will possibly be of extraterrestrial origin.

However, the pathogen will not be able to survive in alcoholic drinks. We will see the return of “small beer,” a lightly alcoholic ale, for everyday drinking, even for children. Even milk, with its high water content, will be unsafe unless mixed with alcohol, and even children will grow up drinking fermented and intoxicating beverages.

For those whose religion forbids traditional alcohol, they will drink mead, made from fermented honey, or airag, made from fermented mare’s milk. The future will be intoxicating, but not in the way we expect.

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