The Whitbread brewery was founded in 1742 in London, and by the 1780’s was the largest brewery in the world.  At first, their main beer in production was a dark stout called porter.  This was extremely popular during the 19th century.  In the 20th century, the brewery produced a wider range of drinks such as bitter, barley wine, stout and pale ale.

The deer’s head, which appears on Whitbread labels, was taken from the Whitbread family coat of arms.

Whitbread beers continued to be made in barrels, bottles and more recently, cans.  The most modern bottles have a metallic cap – the cork bung in this item dates it to the early to mid 20th century.

Alcohol such as beer has been available over the years from inns, taverns and public houses (ie “pubs”) where you could consume the drink on the premises. Off licences would sell the alcohol, but were not permitted to allow its consumption on site.  In modern times, supermarkets have seen their alcohol sales rise.  In 2015 for the first time, the proportion of UK supermarket alcohol sales was greater than sales from pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels all put together.

More information:

Material(s) Glass
Item number MBPO193

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • What is the difference between a pale ale, a bitter and a stout beer?
  • Who used to drink beer? Men or women? Or both?

User Stories

I was at university from 1978 – 1981, and groups of us would go into local pubs for drinks most weekends.  At the time, I enjoyed drinking both lager and bitter.  So my boyfriend and I would order a pint and a half at the bar, and would get change from £1!!  Those were the days!

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