Advert for The Soho Distillery
Medium: Print on paper
In England in the early 19th century, the public's drinking habits were separated along class lines. The working classes tended to drink beer, ale, gin and cider; while the middle and upper classes drank wine and imported brandy. This was largely because wine had very high duties and only the wealthy could afford to buy it.
Over the course of the century, however, tastes and drinking habits changed dramatically. At the beginning of the period drinks were at their strongest both in flavour and in alcoholic content. In 1860 Gladstone introduced a new system of taxes that for the distinguished between the different strength wines. Taxes on port and sherry were reduced to 2 shillings and 5 pence per gallon, whereas the duty on light tables wines was set at 1 shilling and 9 pence, later lowered to a single shilling.