Early colonists brought ales and wines with them to the New World. They continued to import, but also began producing locally. Distillation – the process of boiling a liquid to separate the components – is a process that has been used worldwide since ancient times. Distillation of fermented solutions such as beer, wine or mead results in a product with a higher alcohol content. Distilled alcohol can be stored longer than beers and wines, so producing distilled beverages became a good way for farmers to use excess grain to produce a marketable product. Through the mid-18th century, most spirits were produced by small farmer-distillers. There were no laws to limit production and excess product was easy to store, transport, trade and sell.