The government paying a prize for brewing beer. Very enlightened. Can't see that policy flying nowadays.
Little is known of the early history of brewing in Ireland where beer was not a national drink in the same way as in England In the reign of James I., however, Dublin was noted for its brown ale, and early in the eighteenth century it was estimated that the amount of beer annually produced in Ireland was nearly half a million barrels. Dublin and Cork being the chief brewing centres, while there was a considerable Quantity of beer imported. Several of the existing Irish breweries can lay claim to very considerable antiquity. Thus the firm of Messrs. Jameson, Pim, and Co., hold leases dating from 1715, and in 1766 the Ardee-street Brewery, then owned by Sir James Taylor, headed the list of the forty Dublin Breweries which paid excise duty. Again, the Anchor Brewery was founded in 1740, and in 1759 Mr. Arthur Guinness purchased Mr. Rainsford's brewery, and thus laid the foundation of the present colossal establishment of Messrs. Guinness and Co., whilst the Cork Porter Brewery, at present owned by Messrs. Beamish and Crawford, was worked in 1715 by one Edward Allen, and several of the country breweries were established in the eighteenth century.
How the Royal Dublin Society helped the Brewing Industry,
The Royal Dublin Society took a very active part in fostering the brewing industry, and as early as 1744 granted premiums to brewers who used the largest quantity of Irish hops. In 1763 out of the £8,000 which was granted by Parliament to be spent by the Society in encouraging certain trades, £200 was devoted to the brewing industry. In April, 1764, the Society granted premiums varying from £20 to £12 to the first five persons who sold by retail the greatest quantity of Irish Porter in the year ending 25th March, 1764, and the winner of the first premium was one Stephen Malone, who sold 24 hogsheads. In October, 1765, the Society granted to Mr. Thomas Andrews of New Row, on the Poddle, a premium of £62 6s. 6d., being at the rate of 1d. per gallon for 14,958 gallons of porter brewed by him since 1st June, 1764.
In 1771 a committee was appointed by the Society "to consider in what manner it might be expedient to give encouragement for the establishment of good public breweries in different parts of this Kingdom."
The committee reported in March, 1772, as follows:—
1. "That it is the opinion of this Committee that the Discouragement of the consumption of low-priced spirituous liquors in the country is an object of the utmost consequence to the health and morals of the people as well as to the Police and Manufactures of this Kingdom, and, of course, highly deserving of the attention of the Dublin Society."
2. "That it is the opinion of this Committee that the erection of new Breweries of a good kind of Malt Liquor in the several Provinces of this Kingdom would be the most likely means to promote this desirable end."
3. "That it is the opinion of this Committee that a premium of four shillings in the barrel should be given upon the first 1,000 barrels of Ale of the value of 30 shillings per barrel (first cost to the Retailer) which shall be made and sold out of any one Brewery which shall be erected after the 25th of March, 1772, the Quantity and Value of said Malt Liquor to be ascertained by the certificate of the Collector of the District where such Brewery shall be established." "The said Premium shall be given for each of the four Provinces respectively."
These proposals were adopted with the proviso that no brewery in the city of Dublin or within twenty miles thereof should be eligible, and in 1777 Mr. James Higginson obtained a premium of £200 for having established a "brewery in Lisburn and for having brewed the required 1,000 barrels."
"Ireland Industrial and Agricultural", 1902, page 453 - 454.
More to follow. I've been fatally infected.