Okay. As the only posting member from Asia, I must talk about BEER.
Beer is a very important part of society here... seems silly but it is true. When ever I have dinner at my in-laws house (once a week) we start with a toast of beer, even if you're not drinking. Even though my mother in law prefers sake, toasting is always done with beer. At least one sip of beer is give to Everyone for the toast. My mom doesn't drink except when she's here. It is an engrained part of society.
Last weekend was our wedding. After the parties I got DRUNK with some friends (including my wife). My mother in laws only problem was the mixing... never drink liquor and beer, terrrible hangover.