I had what may be an equivalent experience when I gave a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to my Italian hosts. One adventurous set of tastebuds out of the bunch had led me to believe they'd be a good gift. People were practically knocking each other over looking for a place to spit :-)
A few years ago I was looking at recipes for brewing from the Household Cyclopedia of 1881 . The recipes specify malt by the sack. 3 sacks of malt to brew 3 barrels. I never did actually brew any beer from the book, since the recipes were fairly standard and not altogether that different from modern brewing. 1881 is late enough that we had a good understanding of the chemistry and microbiology involved in brewing beer.
The book also has recipes for various liqueurs, usually with recipes calling for 4 gallons of spirits. There's even a recipe for "port wine" that calls for 100 gal of claret and 12 gal of honey.
Note that grappa is made out of pomace, which is a compost of all the leftovers from winemaking (such as seeds, pulp, stems and must), therefore pretty cheap to make.
1 - http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31741615
2 - https://theconversation.com/hard-evidence-how-much-did-our-a...