Tuesday, April 5, 2016

'Great Advantages in Wines'

"Please drink responsibly" -- It wasn't a phrase heard in Regency England. Wine, in all its variations, was the beverage of choice of the upper classes. Ale and beer were the drinks of the working classes, gin the preferred tipple of the struggling classes. The use of spirits was becoming more prevalent in all ranks of society throughout the 1820's.

Alcohol and wine use and abuse was commonplace, and excess was condemned, but tolerated. It wasn't until the very last year of the 1820's that the temperance movement became organized, and groups began to form against the excessive use of intoxicating beverages.

Before 1820 however, there were few voices campaigning against the 'demon drink', and newspaper advertising enticingly displayed the range of products available.

In 1800, the Reading Mercury printed the following, from a London merchant:
Both advertisements below are from the Edinburgh newspaper the Caledonian Mercury  of June 17, 1805
Worth noting in the top ad is the comment "A small quantity of real Highland Whisky in bottles". Whisky had not yet become a popular drink across the British Isles and was not produced in large quantities.

On December 19, 1808 the Hampshire Telegraph out of Portsmouth published a discreet advertisement with a note "For ready Money only". Probably a wise precaution.
London retailers advertised in the London Courier and Evening Gazette on the 6th of  August 1816:

The Hereford Journal on November 18, 1818 published a detailed advertisement in two columns from the Commercial Hall Wine Company, based in London and operating through its Hereford agent, Mr. J. Havard.

The pineapple, symbol of hospitality, is a charming addition to the advertisement for 'Pineappled Spirits'. They must have been an interesting novelty.

The following advertisement from the Cheltenham Chronicle of April 13, 1815, lists the sorts of beer every family apparently required!

And a new owner took over an existing business in Carlisle in 1818. Mr. Johnson placed his advertisement in the Carlisle Patriot on the 17th of October.

In the Regency, as in the current day, alcohol manufacture and sales employed a great many people, and occupied a busy portion of the economy. I wonder--have our attitudes toward intoxicating drink changed very much in two hundred years?

'Til next time,