De første pubene kom med romerne og var kjent som tavernaer og utsalg for vin til romerske soldater. Strengt tatt var derfor altså den første britiske puben egentlig en italiensk vinbar.
Ettersom britene allerede brygget øl siden bronsealderen, kan det være at de første serveringsstedene begynte å selge overgjæret øl (ale) til de lokale.
Antallet puber jeg England og Wales ble på 500-tallet anslått til om lag 20.000 omtrent en pub per 200 innbyggere. I dag ville den samme tettheten tilsvart en pub per tusen innbyggere.
Selv om te og kaffe også ble introdusert utover 1500-og 600-tallet, forble dette drikken for de øvre lag av samfunnet.
Øl var i motsetning til brennevin på denne tiden ansett som harmlest og sunt. Ettersom vann ofte også var urent, fikk barn servert alkoholsvakt øl, og til og med kirken mente dette var atskillig mindre syndig enn gin. Mellom 1830 og 1838 àpnet 46.000 puber England rundt.
Beerhouse Act 1830
var en lov fra Stortinget i Storbritannia, som liberaliserte forskriftene for brygging og salg av øl. Den ble endret ved etterfølgende lovgivning og ble opphevet til slutt i 1993. Det var en av konsesjonslovene 1828 til 1886.
Billig brennevin som brandy fra Frankrike og gin fra Nederland begynte å flomme til pubene, og skapte et par tiår store sosiale problemer - ettersom det var billigere enn øl. Nye lover kjent som «The Gin handlinger» fra 1736 og 1751 ble innført jeg forsøk på å redusere konsumet, og presenterte å få litt orden tilbake på pubene igjen.
Antallet puber i Storbritannia begynner å synke.
Forklaringene er flere: Pubeieres manglende evne til å holde tritt med nye trender, konkurranse fra supermarkeder og endringer i demografi og alkoholkonsum.
Ordet pub uttales ofte «pøbb» på norsk, en fornorsking av den standardbritiske uttalen som ligger nærmere «pabb».
Språkrådet foreslo å stave ordet pøbb på norsk som en standardform, men det ble ikke gjennomført.
Puber i Storbritannia
I Storbritannia finnes det tradisjonelt to hovedtyper av puber:
Tied House er en pub som er bundet til å kjøpe deler av ølet de serverer fra et bestemt bryggeri.
Free House er en pub som står fritt til å velge hvilke bryggerier de ønsker å kjøpe øl fra.
Begrepet pub forbeholdes gjerne for serveringssteder med et preg som er typisk for
Det er bortimot 60 000 puber i Storbritannia. På mange steder, spesielt i mindre byer og tettsteder, kan en pub være midtpunktet for lokalsamfunnet og kan spille tilsvarende rolle som den lokale kirke i den sammenhengen.
En pub som tilbyr overnattingsmuligheter kalles tradisjonelt et vertshus (engelsk inn).
Et annet begrep for pub kan være bar, men disse serverer som regel ikke matretter.
by Ben Johnson
Renowned the world over, the great British pub is not just a place to drink beer, wine, cider or even something a little bit stronger. It is also a unique social centre, very often the focus of community
life in villages, towns and cities throughout the length and breadth of the country.
Yet it appears that the great British pub actually started life as a great Italian wine bar,
and dates back almost 2,000 years.
known as tabernae to these shores in 43 AD. Such tabernae, or shops that sold wine, were quickly
built alongside Roman roads and in towns to help quench the thirst of the legionary troops.
It was ale, however, that was the native British brew, and it appears that these tabernae quickly adapted to provide the locals with their favourite tipple, with the word eventually being corrupted to tavern.
These taverns or alehouses not only survived but continued to adapt to an ever changing clientele,
through invading Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and not forgetting those fearsome Scandinavian Vikings.
In around 970 AD, one Anglo-Saxon king, Edgar, even attempted to limit the number of alehouses
in any one village. He is also said to have been responsible for introducing a drinking measure
known as ‘the peg’ as a means of controlling the amount of alcohol an individual could consume,
hence the expression “to take (someone) down a peg”.
Taverns and alehouses provided food and drink
to their guests, whilst inns offered
accommodation for weary travellers.
These could include merchants, court
pilgrims travelling to and from religious
shrines, as immortalised by Geoffrey Chaucer
in his Canterbury Tales.
Inns also served military purposes; one of the oldest
dating from 1189 AD is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem
in Nottingham, and is said to have acted as a recruitment
centre for volunteers to accompany
on his crusade to the Holy Lands.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem,
Alehouses, inns and taverns collectively became known as public houses and then simply as pubs around the reign of King Henry VII. A little later, in 1552, an Act was passed that required innkeepers to have a licence in order to run a pub.
By 1577 it is estimated that there were some 17,000 alehouses, 2,000 inns and 400 taverns throughout England and Wales. Taking into account the population of the period, that would equate to around one pub for every 200 persons. To put that into context, that same ratio today would be approximately one pub for every 1,000 persons …Happy Daze!
Throughout history, ale and beer have always formed a part of the staple British diet, the brewing process itself making it a much safer option than drinking the water of the times.
Although both coffee and tea were introduced into Britain around the mid-1600s, their prohibitive prices ensured that they remained the preserve of the rich and famous. Just a few decades later however, things changed dramatically when cheap spirits, such as brandy from France and gin from Holland hit the shelves of the pubs.
The social problems caused
by the ‘Gin Era’ of 1720 – 1750
are recorded in Hogarth’s Gin Lane
The Gin Acts of 1736 and 1751
reduced gin consumption to a quarter
of its previous level and returned
some semblance of order back to the pubs.
heralded yet another new era for the pubs
of the time, as coaching inns were
established on strategic routes up and
down and across the country.
Such inns provided food, drink and accommodation
for passengers and crew alike, as well as changes of
fresh horses for their continued journey.
The passengers themselves generally consisted of
two distinct groups, the more affluent who could
afford the relative luxury of travelling inside the coach, and the others who would be left clinging on to the outside for dear life. The ‘insiders’ would of course receive the warmest greetings and be welcomed into the innkeepers private parlour or salon (saloon), the outsiders meanwhile would get no further than the inn’s bar room.
The age of the stagecoach, although relatively short-lived, did establish the precedence for the class distinctions that was continued in rail travel from the 1840s onward. Like the railways that operated a First, Second and even Third Class service, so the pubs evolved in a similar manner. Pubs of that time, even relatively small ones, would typically be split into several rooms and bars in order to cater for differing types and classes of customer.
In today’s ‘open-plan’ society such walls have been removed, and now anyone and everyone is welcome in the great British pub. So welcome, in fact, that almost one in four Britons will now meet their future wife or husband in a pub!
Above: The King’s Arms, Amersham, near London. This 14th century inn now offers
en-suite accommodation, and was featured in the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’.
The native British brew of ‘ale’ was originally made without hops. Ale brewed with hops was gradually introduced in the 14th and 15th centuries, this was known as beer. By 1550 most brewing included hops and the expression alehouse and beerhouse became synonymous. Today beer is the general term with bitter, mild, ales, stouts and lagers simply denoting different types of beer.
A Special Thanks
Many thanks to English Country Inns for sponsoring this article. Their enormous directory of historic inns is perfect for those looking for a quirky weekend away, especially with their recent inclusion of old smugglers and highwaymen inns featuring accommodation.