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19-11-2013, 10:02
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There was one thing that always impressed visitors about the Barclay Perkins brewery - its sheer size. For more than a century, that made it one of the must-see sights in London.


"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



1784
1785
1786
1787
1788
1789
1790
1791
1792
1793


Barclay Perkins
103,700
100,700
101,600
105,600
112,600
123,900
126,700
121,200
119,500
130,100


Whitbread
126,500
137,800
138,800
146,300
156,000
171,000
175,000
176,000
178,000
184,000


Truman, Hanbury
120,800
111,200
94,800
95,300
82,300
93,900
93,700
89,300
97,500
96,300


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


John Calvert
117,700
134,800
117,200
131,000
127,000
141,600
144,000
131,300
125,100
108,000


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


Hammond-Gyfford-Shum-Combe -Delafield
108,800
101,400
87,600
90,900
100,100
95,300
100,200
100,700
106,200
101,500


Parsons-Goodwyn-Hoare
62,900
62,000
61,300
66,400
61,600
63,100
60,500
55,600
58,500
74,400


Total
791,700
805,900
722,200
776,800
769,600
822,600
806,600
824,000
832,700
854,200


Source:


“The Brewing Industry in England 1700-1830”, Peter Mathias, 1959, p 551-552



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"Europe grows fond of Porter". What a wonderful phrase. But one I doubt that I'll ever be able to use.

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