Beerhouse Act 1830

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Beerhouse Act 1830
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to permit the general Sale of Beer and Cyder by Retail in England.
Citation11 Geo. 4 & 1 Will. 4. c. 64
Royal assent23 July 1830
Repealed5 November 1993
Other legislation
Amended by
Repealed byStatute Law (Repeals) Act 1993
Status: Repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted
Alehouse Act 1828
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn act to regulate the granting of Licences to Keepers of Inns, Alehouses, and Victualling Houses, in England.
Citation9 Geo. 4. c. 61
Royal assent15 July 1828
Other legislation
Status: Repealed
19th century brewery

The Beerhouse Act 1830 (11 Geo. 4 & 1 Will. 4. c. 64) was an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which liberalised the regulations governing the brewing and sale of beer. It was modified by subsequent legislation and finally repealed in 1993. It was one of the Licensing Acts 1828 to 1886.[1]


The precursor to the act was the Alehouse Act 1828 (9 Geo. 4. c. 61), that was enacted two years before, which established a general annual licensing meeting to be held in every city, town, division, county, and riding, for the purposes of granting licences to inns, alehouses, and victualling (i.e. provision of food) houses to sell exciseable liquors to be drunk on the premises.[2]

The act[edit]

The act enabled any rate-payer to brew and sell beer on payment of a licence costing two guineas (£2.10 in decimal currency, not adjusted for inflation). The intention was to increase competition between brewers, lower prices, and encourage people to drink beer instead of strong spirits.[3] It resulted in the opening of thousands of new public houses and breweries throughout the country, particularly in the rapidly expanding industrial centres of the north of England.[4][a] According to the act, Parliament considered it was

expedient for the better supplying the public with Beer in England, to give greater facilities for the sale thereof, than was then afforded by licences to keepers of Inns, Alehouses, and Victualling Houses.[2]


The act's supporters hoped that by increasing competition in the brewing and sale of beer, and thus the lowering its price, the population might be weaned off more alcoholic drinks such as gin.[5] But it proved to be controversial, as it removed the lucrative monopoly many local magistrates had to regulate local trade in alcohol, and as it did not apply retrospectively to those who already ran public houses. It was also denounced as promoting drunkenness.[6]

The passage of the act during the reign of King William IV led to many taverns and public houses being named in his honour; he remains "the most popular monarch among pub names".[7]

By 1841, licences under the new law had been issued to 45,500 commercial brewers.[6] One factor in the act was the dismantling of provisions for detailed recording of licences, which were restored by subsequent regulatory legislation: the Wine and Beerhouse Act 1869 and the Wine and Beerhouse Act Amendment Act 1870.[2] The act was often amended, notably in 1834 and 1840.[8]


The final remaining provisions of the act were repealed on 11 November 1993, by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1993 (c. 50), s. 1(1), Sch. 1 Pt. XIII Group I.[9][10]



  1. ^ The Short Titles Act 1896, section 2(1) and schedule 2
  2. ^ a b c Crispe Whiteley 1874.
  3. ^ Putnam 2004, p. 36.
  4. ^ a b Richardson 1982.
  5. ^ Winskill 1881, p. 447.
  6. ^ a b Putnam 2004, p. 27.
  7. ^ Putnam 2004, p. 37.
  8. ^ Troup 1897.
  9. ^ "Beerhouse Act 1830 (repealed 5.11.1993)".
  10. ^ "1993 c. 50 Schedule 1, Part XIII". Retrieved 30 July 2011.


  1. ^ In Manchester and Salford alone there were 27 breweries in 1827, which had increased to 75 by 1873.[4]


  • Crispe Whiteley, George (1874). The Licensing Acts 1872–74. Knight & Company.*Putnam, Roger (2004), The Beer and Breweries of Britain, Shire Books, ISBN 0-7478-0606-3
  • Mason, Nicholas. (2001) “‘The Sovereign People are in A Beastly State’: The Beer Act Of 1830 and Victorian Discourse on Working-Class Drunkenness.” Victorian Literature and Culture 29, no. 1 (2001): 109–27.
  • Richardson, Neil (1982), "Introduction", Manchester Breweries of Times Gone By, N. Richardson, ISBN 978-0-9506257-4-4
  • Troup, C. E. (1897). Judicial Statistics, England and Wales. Great Britain Home Office.*Winskill, Peter Turner (1881), The Comprehensive History of the Rise and Progress of the Temperance Reformation from the Earliest Period to September 1881, Mackie, Brewtnall