Why is champagne used to launch ships, and how long has this been going on?
Until 1689, a ship was named and its good luck guaranteed by throwing a silver chalice over the side.
William III thought this practice was wasteful, and told the Royal Navy to break a bottle of liquor against the ship's side instead.
In the early 1800's the Prince Regent set the custom of choosing a woman to perform the ceremony.
In those days, the bottle was held by the neck and thrown against the ship. This practice was stopped after a bottle missed the ship and hit a spectator.
Champagne is said to "placate the gods."