Winnowers and Malters

“and they shall be known as Winnowers and Malters.”

Cuneiform tablets describe a farming village on the Euphrates River whose main crop at that time was barley intended for making beer. Before barley’s fermented, it’s malted, and before it’s malted, the grains are separated from the chaff. Now, one family in the village became known for being exceptionally adept at winnowing, while another family in the village became known for their perfect malting. Therefore, beer from this village was widely admired for its clarity and strength. It was not recorded how these two families achieved their efficiency or quality, but they prospered, and, to ensure that their prosperity would be maintained, they got together and codified their practices. They developed secret rituals and taught them to their children, and these became an end in themselves, so that these rituals are still practiced today, even though the participants have nothing to do with making beer.