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In assembling a collection of books about the beverage alcohol industry, the Seagram Museum attempted to acquire materials illustrative of the attitudes of society towards drinking and the social conditions surrounding the consumption of alcohol.

Since the latter part of the eighteenth century, consumption of alcohol has been the focus of disagreement among many groups in society.

Temperance movements were dedicated to the moderation, or in some cases complete abstinence in the use of intoxicating liquor. When efforts to legally prevent the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages were organized, "prohibition" resulted in many countries. This method of liquor control was most often aimed at preventing alcoholism and thus removing a social, physical, and economic harm from society.