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