English Hops

Oct 15, 2012 by

English Hops; a History of Cultivation and Preparation for the Market from the Earliest Times by George Clinch was originally published in 1919.  At first Hops may seem like a rather dry or boring subject for a book, but in actuality an entire culture and way of life was created around the use, cultivation and preparation of hops.

A few paragraphs to let you see how very serious they were about their hops:

“The importation of hops into Ireland should be confined to those grown in Great Britain. Flemish hops were expressly prohibited, and a breach of this regulation involved forfeiture of the hops themselves and also of the ships in which they were conveyed. A duty of threepence per pound was laid on all hops imported. In 1734 a duty of one penny per pound was imposed on all hops grown and cured in England. It was at the same time made obligatory on hop growers to furnish particulars of their hop grounds to the excise authority under a penalty of forty shillings an acre. All particulars of storage-houses had also to be furnished.

A fine of £10 per cwt. was imposed for removing foreign hops from their pockets and re-bagging them in English pockets. In order to prevent or deter persons from defrauding the revenue, a penalty of £40 was incurred by using more than once the same pocket bearing the mark of the excise officer. Another serious offence was to remove hops before they had been weighed and packed ; the penalty was £50. Concealment of hops was punishable by the forfeiture of £20 and the concealed hops. The use of any bitter ingredient instead of hops in brewing rendered the brewer liable to a fine of £20. 60 The whole of the operations of drying, weighing and packing hops was carried out under the over- sight of the excise officers. Timely notice had to be given them of all proposed operations, and severe fines were inflicted on defaulters. In the earlier half of the 19th century duties were payable in the March and October following the year of production. During the period 1819- 1822 the payment of duty was made in September and November.”

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