Some interesting facts about beerhouses that I did not know.
The 1830 Beerhouse Act
Main article: Beerhouse Act 1830
Gin was popularised in England following the accession of William of Orange in 1688, largely because it provided an alternative to French brandy at a time of both political and religious conflict between Britain and France. Between 1689 and 1697 the British Government passed a range of legislation aimed at restricting brandy imports and encouraging domestic gin production. No licenses were required to make spirits and thousands of gin-shops sprang up all over England. Because of its cheapness, gin became popular with the poor, eventually leading to the Gin Craze and by 1727 over half of London's 15,000 drinking establishments were dedicated to gin.
The drunkenness and lawlessness created by gin was seen to lead to the ruination and degradation of the working classes, as illustrated by William Hogarth in his engravings Beer Street and Gin Lane. The Gin Act of 1736 and the Gin Act of 1743 were ineffective attempts to control the situation, but the Gin Act of 1751 proved more successful and succeeded in reducing consumption.
By the early 19th century, encouraged by a reduction of duties, gin houses and gin palaces (an evolution of gin shops) began to spread from London to most towns and cities in Britain and gin consumption again began to rise. Alarmed at the prospect of a return to the Gin Craze, and under a banner of "reducing public drunkenness" the Government attempted to counter the threat by introducing the Beerhouse Act of 1830. The Act introduced a new lower tier of premises, "the beerhouse".
At the time, beer was viewed as harmless and nutritious, even healthy. Young children were often given what was described as small beer, brewed to have a low alcohol content, as the local water was frequently unsafe. Even the evangelical church and temperance movements of the day viewed the drinking of beer very much as a secondary evil and a normal accompaniment to a meal. The beerhouse Act was an attempt to wean drinkers away from the evils of gin and encourage the consumption of a more wholesome beverage.
A Victorian beerhouse, now a public house, in Rotherhithe, Greater London
Under the 1830 Act any householder, on payment of two guineas (roughly equal in value to £189 today), was permitted to brew and sell beer or cider in his home. The permission did not extend to the Sale
of spirits and fortified wines, and any beerhouse discovered selling those items was closed down and the owner heavily fined.
Beerhouses were not permitted to open on Sundays. The beer was usually served in jugs or dispensed directly from tapped wooden barrels on a table in the corner of the room. Often profits were so high the owners were able to buy the house next door to live in, turning every room in their former home into bars and lounges for customers.
In the first year, 400 beer houses opened and within eight years there were 46,000 across the country, far outnumbering the combined total of long-established taverns, pubs, inns and hotels. Because it was so easy to obtain permission and the profits could be huge compared to the low cost of gaining permission, the number of beer houses continued to rise; in some towns nearly every other house in a street might be a beerhouse. Finally in 1869 the growth had to be checked by magisterial control. New licensing laws were introduced making it harder to get a licence, and the regime which operates today was established. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pub#The_1830_Beerhouse_Act