Chapter

The pub and the people: drinking places and popular culture

James Nicholls

in The Politics of Alcohol

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780719077050
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702758 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719077050.003.0014
The pub and the people: drinking places and popular culture

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By 1918, the drink question in England had been transformed. The establishment of the Central Control Board (CCB) had shown that it was possible to impose central planning on the drinks trade. The CCB had encouraged leading brewers to work with the government in setting alcohol policy, rather than viewing legislation as a perennial threat. Levels of overall beer consumption had plummeted, from an average annual consumption of 214 pints per person at the start of the century to just 80 by the time of World War I. Beer was more expensive, it was weaker, and pubs faced unprecedented levels of competition from new forms of entertainment such as the cinema and organised sports. The most significant response to the post-war malaise within the brewing industry was driven by two brewing companies who had been closely involved with the work of the CCB: Whitbread, and Mitchells and Butlers. This chapter explores drinking places and popular culture in Britain, beer and Britishness, temperance movement, market forces, the consolidation of the brewing industry, and the development of new drinks.

Keywords: drinks trade; England; brewers; beer; pubs; popular culture; Central Control Board; Whitbread; Mitchells and Butlers; temperance movement

Chapter.  8298 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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