Poole Museum
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Ginger Beer

User AvatarPosted by Joe Raine at 27/09/2021 09:48:47
ginger beer.jpg

Ginger Beer has been a popular drink in the UK since the 1700s and originally lived up to its name, it could be up to 11% alcohol by volume! In 1855, though, the government passed a bill that put a big tax on exporting any beverage containing over 2% alcohol and this meant many brewers cut the fermenting time short to keep it cheap.  

Ginger Beer was unattractively cloudy so manufacturers bottled it in opaque stoneware. This had the added benefit of being tough enough to be shipped around the world, especially to the United States and Canada. The high quality of British stoneware meant the beer stayed cold and fizzy even after transport and our two bottles here are likely from the 1890s when the Dorset Mineral Water Company got underway and decoration on the bottles got more elaborate.   

Ironically Prohibition saw the popularity of Ginger Beer fall as it lost out to its cousin, Ginger Ale, and the explosion of other soft drinks like Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper. The Dorset Mineral Water Company endured though and lasted in one guise or another until 1970s. The Torpedo Bottle we featured a while back is another one of their successful products.  

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