Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Home-brew'd Porter

The Scots really hand the hump about imports of London Porter. We've already seen some of the letters to the paper moaning about the Scots lack of drinking patriotism. Now it's someone trying to push that patriotism to earn a few bob.

The tone in Scottish newspapers - in particular the attitude towards England - is very different in the 18th century to what it was in the 19th century. In the 1700's there are complaints about English imports and the unfair advantages given to English enterprises. By the 1800's that has disappeared, doubtless because by then Scottish businesses were taking advantage of their access to the British Empire

THE EDINBURGH INDUSTRIOUS COMPANY beg leave to inform the Public, that they have now ready for sale, at their cellar in Galloway's close, north side of the Lawn-market, A considerable quantity of the very best HOME-BREW'D PORTER, which they sell (for ready money only) at the low price of 2s. 3d. per dozen ; and which, for the conveniency of customers, they send, free of any additional expence, to any house in town and suburbs.

The Industrious Company flatter themselves that this undertaking will meet with the approbation and encouragement of the Public, when it is considered that it is thereby intended to bring the HOME-BREW'D PORTER to the highest perfection, and so to promote its general reception and use in this country ; which will give employment and subsistence to a number of individuals, and be the most effectual means of putting a stop to that ruinous trade, the importation of London Porter, which is rarely to be got here unadulterated, and which, for many years past, has drawn from this country an immense quantity of ready specie.

As a further inducement to public favour and encouragement, the Porter now offered to sale is not only one third cheaper than the London Porter used in this place, but they will venture to affirm, that it will be found upon trial equal either in strength, taste, or flavour; and as they make it an invariable rule not to take in any but what is approved of by the best judges, nor to give it out till it is fully ripe and fit for use, the Public may depend upon being served at all times with SCOTS PORTER of the best quality.

N. B. No credit will he given. - Sufficient bottles must be returned immediately, or paid for at the rate of 1s. 6d. per dozen.

Orders addressed to James Wilson, at the Company's cellar, as above, will be punctually answered."
Caledonian Mercury - Saturday 21 September 1776, page 3.
Was that really a third cheaper than London Porter? Remember that advert from 1758, where London Porter was offered at 2s 10d per dozen. That 34d for a dozen, compared to 27d here. I make that 20% less. Though the price of London Porter could have gone up between those two dates.

Once again there are allegations of adulteration against London Porter. Obviously the Edinburgh Industrious Company had a vested interest in slagging off London Porter, as they were competing against it. We'll probably never know if this allegation was true or just a piece of commercial manoeuvring.

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