"Dined with Mr. Shoemaker, Mr. Coxe, Mr. Phineas Bond, & Mr. Samson a Mercht., at Mr. Barclay's great Brewery in the Borough, which I examined. The Buildings contain near 5 Acres of Ground, Stables with 79 Horses, 2 Copper Boilers of 200 Barrels each brick'd up all round; Vats of 500 — 800 — 1000 & 4 of 1500 Barrels each. All full of Porter. This Brewery and 5 others make up Half of the Porter made in London; one of the 4 largest Vats costs 700 Guineas. They all stand upon Piles clear of the Ground about 4 Feet. They may be about 18 Feet high, of Oak hooped with Iron. He alone pays Excise weekly, in a Year near £40,000 exclusive of the Excize on Malt in the advanced Price of it. The Works are astonishing! so is the Quantity of Malt! The whole annual Market for Porter in the Port of London is about 1200,000 Barrels. 11 Twelfths is the Home Consumption, but 1/12th goes abroad. It will increase. Europe grows fond of Porter & especially Russia. I saw one Floor of 1000 Barrels in the last Fermentation, Yest running at the Bungs. Mr. Barclay assures me upon his Honor no Opium is used, nothing but Malt & Hops & Thames Water. It is an Error that this is the only Water fit for Porter. Hopps are an opiate."
The diary and selected papers of Chief Justice William Smith, 1784-1793, Vol. I, edited by L.F.S. Upton, 1963-1965, page 220.
Hops aren't an opiate. They're not even an opioid. Weird that the author had to get Mr. Barclay to swear that his beer didn’t contain opium. I’m still to find any real evidence that beer was drugged with opium. Lots of rumours, but no evidence.
Was the total production of Porter 1.2 million barrels? Probably. The 8 biggest Porter brewers were churning out 800-odd thousand barrels in the 1790's:
|Output of London's large Porter breweries 1784 - 1793|
|Sir W. Calvert Felix Calvert||93,800||100,700||75,200||91,600||81,800||80,500||57,800||81,400||69,400||71,400|
|Meux, Reid (Reid and Co)||57,500||57,300||45,700||49,700||48,200||53,300||48,700||68,500||78,500||88,500|
|“The Brewing Industry in England 1700-1830”, Peter Mathias, 1959, p 551-552|
"Europe grows fond of Porter". What a wonderful phrase. But one I doubt that I'll ever be able to use.