The history of Ribeirão Preto was built with the fruits of the earth. The first fruit that was cultivated in the purple earth and that made the city a capital of the world was the coffee
The history of Ribeirão Preto begins with the arrival of the first migrants who came from Minas Gerais around 1811. They pioneered the region, first with subsistence agriculture and then, as farmers, donated part of their land to the patrimony of São Sebastião for the purpose of maintaining a chapel in honor of the saint and, thus, fulfilling the requirements of the Law of the Earth to legalize its properties.
On June 19, 1856, the scriptures were drawn up and the patrimony of the Church was demarcated. The name Ribeirão Preto came from the creek that crossed the town. São Sebastião, the saint venerated by the first inhabitants, became patron of the municipality
Coffee production was the first intensive agricultural activity of Ribeirão Preto that offered land of quality and appropriate climate. The planting began in 1870 and, by 1900, local production was already known in Europe, which made the city win the denomination of World Coffee Capital.
The demand for labor made Ribeirão Preto the destination of Italian, Japanese, German immigrants among many. It also motivated the arrival of Companhia Mogiana de Estradas de Ferro Station in 1883, which brought the immigrants and drained the agricultural production. It was years of glory until the great world economic crisis of 1929 ended the coffee cycle in the region.
A água foi o ingrediente principal do produto que iria projetar Ribeirão Preto novamente no cenário nacional.
Antes da crise do café, a cidade já começara a se industrializar. Em 1910, é instalada a Companhia Cervejaria Paulista. A fábrica também inaugurou a Choperia Pinguim, frequentada pela elite do café e que continua uma atração para os visitantes até os dias de hoje.
O chopp da cidade ficou famoso dentre a história de Ribeirão Preto por utilizar a pura água do Aquífero Guarani. Atualmente, as cervejarias artesanais, que surgiram nos últimos anos após o fechamento da fábrica, também utilizam a puríssima água do manancial subterrâneo que abastece a cidade conferindo qualidade ao produto e mantendo a tradição cervejeira na cidade.
The coffee decline allowed the planting of other crops, especially sugarcane, which resumed its position as leader in national agriculture. In the 1940s, this was already the main agricultural activity in some municipalities in the region, which after 1960 became a "sea of sugarcane" and the largest sugarcane pole in the world, with dozens of sugar mills and distilleries in operation.
Changes in the commercial relationships between several countries benefited Brazil, which started to encourage the sector with a view to the foreign market. It was created the Pro Alcohol - National Alcohol Program (which lasted from 1975 to 1989) and encouraged the use of anhydrous alcohol as an additive to gasoline. New distilleries and sugar mills were created to process sugarcane, and the industry was capitalized.
In addition to sugar and alcohol, the sector also developed the cogeneration of electric energy from the burning of sugarcane bagasse to the so-called "sugar-energy sector".