This article suggests that civilization started around beer. As an engineer and geologist, I can go with that. But alcohol only took Western Civilization up the to the Romans. To go further in world domination, we need stimulants.
There is a book that states guns, germs and steel were the basis of western domination. They are wrong. It was excessive alcohol mixed with excessive coffee. Any other civilization had all these things, we just mixed these two substances together. The coffee houses were the cradle of modern science, they were treating their hangovers from the night before!
Apologies to all those fine civilizations that were run over by the ethanol/caffeine juggernaut, we didn't have any control! Now, many countries are trying to compete in the world while banning the use of one or both chemicals. You don't have a chance! Unfortunately I have burnt out on the stuff, and no longer feel brilliant. Let the youngsters take over.