Take a look if you doubt me.)
"6. What is the usual beverage of the common people? do they generally drink beer? and how do they procure it?
A. The usual beverage of the common people is milk, failing that useful article, water, or small beer not much better than water, is their beverage. The small beer is usually procured from public houses.
7. What may be the number of ale-houses, in reference to the population of districts?
A. There are ten public-houses in this parish, few of them of extensive business, and the population thereof is 1700 souls or thereby.
8. Is it customary for labourers to resort to such houses?
A. It is not common for country labourers to resort to public-houses, except when they have received some money from their master for extra services, or when they are delivering grain or other articles, on which occasions an allowance in money is always given them. The inhabitants of towns and villages are better customers to the publican than the country labourers.
9. Is it usual for common brewers to become owners of such houses, and serve them exclusively with their own manufacture? or do the tenants brew their own beer?
A. The brewers in Scotland are very seldom owners of public-houses, the sale of ale and small beer being too inconsiderable to make it any object for them to rent houses with a view of procuring the exclusive consumption of customers. The tenants of public-houses rarely brew their own beer; indeed that is quite unnecessary, for one common brewer can with ease supply all the beer that is wanted in four or five parishes. Private brewing is not customary in Scotland, except in the harvest months, when many of the large farmers brew beer for the use of their reapers—bread and beer being almost in every case the only articles for dinner."
"Blackwood's Edinburgh magazine, Volume 3, April - September 1818", 18 , pages 13 - 14.
It's another one of those brief but fact-filled texts that I love so much.
Under discussion is a country parish. With 10 pubs for a mere 1,700 people, I'm not surprised none of them did that much trade. Agricultural labourers, we are told, rarely drank anything stronger than Small Beer. We've already seen that in the 18th century and early 19th century, only a small proportion of the beer brewed in Scotland was Strong Beer. In England, it was the other way around, a majority being Strong Beer.
Hang on, I've numbers to demonstrate that:
|Scottish and English beer production 1803 - 1820|
|year||Strong beer (barrels)||Table beer (barrels)||total all beer (barrels)||%age Table Beer||Strong beer (barrels)||Table beer (barrels)||total all beer (barrels)||%age Table Beer|
|"Accounts and Papers: Miscellaneous, session 23 January to 11 July 1821", 1821, pages 353-354.|
|"Accounts and Papers: Miscellaneous, session 23 January to 11 July 1821", 1821, page 269.|
Which is all very ironic, what with Scotland being renowned for its strong beers. They might have made Scottish brewers famous, but the folks back home mostly drank the weak stuff.
Why didn't agricultural labourers go to the pub? Because they didn't have any cash. As soon as they were gievn some, they were straight down the boozer. A bit like Little Dave. As soon as he got his giro he was down the pub and wouldn't leave until it was all gone. Happy days.
The question about tied houses is an odd one. But dead useful for my purposes. I'm still trying to get my head around when the tied house system first appeared and how it developed. London brewers owned some pubs (or their leases) in the 18th century. But it was nowhere near a majority of pubs that were controlled by brewers. That, as far as I can tell, was an indirect result of Licensing Acts, starting with the one of 1869. As new licences became virtually impossible to obtain and magistrates began delicensing pubs, there was a scramble to secure pubs. Or rather their licences.
For reasons I've never been able to explain, though tied houses did exist in Scotland, the majority of the pub trade was, nominally at least, free.And that difference seems to stretch back to at least the beginning of the 19th century. Could the high percentage of beer exported be connected to this? Were Scottish brewers not as dependent on the local market as their English colleagues?
Finally two other differences with England: no pub brewing and only domestic (i.e. farm) brewing at harvest time. The beer supplied at harvest was, in England, usually a type of low-gravity Mild. Maybe about 4% ABV. Domestic brewing was popular in parts of England well into the 19th century. And in others the same was true of pub brewing until after WW I.
Wow. I've managed to stretch that one out. I only meant to write a couple of paragraphs.