Brewing Science, echnology and Print, 1700–1880
Why Study Brewing?
Since the mid-twentieth century, the common view o beer in a uent alcohol-consuming societies has been the one supposedly ormulated by Brendan Behanaer a mammoth empirical study: it ‘makes you drunk’.
Tus considered, it isnot the most obvious topic or sober analysis. Indeed, some authors have cleverly put beer into historical context by showing just how seriously it was once taken.
Eighteenth-century beer did not necessarily make you drunk, but might be astaple oodstu, a ocus or community organization, a tool or governments tomanage taxation and a source o private ortunes which launched political dynas-ties. In the nineteenth century, as anti-spirits campaigns gave way to ull-blownteetotalism, all these associations ed into ferce debates over the moral charactero beer. Brewing, then, was part o a web o economic and social connectionsbroad enough and deep enough to matter to everyone. Much the same is true o other trades such as distilling, metalworking, textiles or ceramics; beer-brewing,however, oers a particularly productive case or exploring philosophy–tradeinteractions, or several reasons.Unusually, brewing was both a manuacturing industry and a domestic art.In the eighteenth century, as the greatest commercial brewhouses became con-spicuous public marvels o concentrated mechanized production, traditional‘house-brewing’ on the estates o the landed gentry remained an embedded ea-ture o economic and social lie.
Brewing thus resembled agriculture in being constantly visible, and materially important, to the people most likely to be philosophically engaged. Allan Chapman, writing o an earlier period, oers auseul analogy:
every clergyman, academic, and country gentleman would have received his incomerom land rentals, and such gentlemen would have watched the proftability o theirarms, brew-houses, and dairies with the same assiduity as their modern-day col-leagues might monitor the instincts o their stockbrokers.
Joseph Banks, or instance – who did his best to intrude into almost every dimension o British natural science around the turn o the nineteenth century – kept a brewhouse at Spring Grove which issued around 80 hogsheads (over4,000 gallons) o beer annually in the 1780s. In 1800, as London’s largest brew-ers were scrambling to commission Boulton and Watt’s steam engines, Matthew Boulton himsel was computing how much he might save by brewing or hisown household.
Equally important was beer’s role in the growth o the State. Seventeenth-century governments had identifed beer and its raw materials as a convenienttarget or indirect taxation, levied at the point o production, and duties roseheavily rom the beginning o the eighteenth century.
Eorts to minimize raud