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Old 22-10-2018, 03:44 PM   #10
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The loss of small scale cottage industry beer brewing to big corporate brewers because of changes to tax law and licencing...

Last Orders- Excerpt from 'Lost crafts' by Una Mcgovern

'in former times, to set about to show to englishmen that it was good for them to brew beer in their houses would have been as impertinent as gravely to insist, that they ought to endevour not to lose their breath; for in those times (only forty years ago), to have a house and not to brew was a rare thing indeed. Mr Ellman, an old man and a large farmer, in sussex, has recently given in Evidence, before a committee of the house of commons, this fact: that, forty years ago, there was not a labourer in his parish that did not brew his own beer, and that now, there is not one that does it, except by chance that the malt be given him. The causes of this change have been the lowering of wages of labour, compared with the price of provisions...the enormous tax upon the barley when made into malt, and the increased tax upon the hops. These have quite changed the customs of the english people as to their drink. They still drink beer, but, in general, it is the brewing of common brewers, and in public houses, of which the common brewers have become the owners, and have thus...obtained a monopoly in the supplying of the great body of the people with one of those things, which to the hard-working man, is almost a necessary of life.''
-William Cobbett, Cottage Economy (1826)

'As William Cobbett observed in 1826, home brewing had, by then, already gone into serious decline. In 1880, those home brewers that were left were dealt a serious blow when the inland revenue act decreed that they must buy a licence if they wished to continue their hobby. It was not until 1963 that the restrictions on making your own beer were removed, and there was some hope that the craft would be revived.'
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