This is another of our little diversions into the history and the eccentricities of beer.
This covers the origin of draught beer but be warned, historians don’t always agree on who did what and when! So, this is our reading of lots of different views and an attempt to pull them together.
It’s the English
Historically, beer played a huge part in the lives of just about everyone in society. Nowhere was that truer than in “Ye Olde England” (which is incorrect language – we know!).
Back in the 1690s an Englishman called John Lofting, who had invented different ways of drawing water through fire engines in order to put out the many fires of the time, suddenly had a brainwave. He wondered if the combination of pressure and pumping could be applied to beer as well as water.
It is not entirely clear whether this immediately took off or was viewed with great suspicion by the people of the time. They would have been used to simple kegs of beer and a tap hammered into the side of them. So, draught beer might have seemed a very dodgy concept of the “but where be ye keg?” type.
Then, in the 18th century, along came another Englishman called Joseph Bramah.
He was one of those great multi-disciplinary scientists that the 18th and 19th centuries seemed to throw up aplenty. He was primarily a hydraulic engineer, though today he is probably best known for his world-famous safety locks and the Bramah Lock Company.
Applying some of his hydraulic engines skills to the subject of beer, he developed and patented his “Beer Engine”. From there, things on-developed until today’s sophisticated draught beer systems have become the norm and now dominate the marketplace.
Why draught beer took off
Picturesque as the image of a big beer keg is, in reality, it was a pretty inefficient system.
It took up lots more counter space and due to settlement, the final beers in the keg were often a little “thick” to say the least.
Draught beer allowed the large storage kegs to be moved underground or elsewhere out of the way and it ensured rather more even standards in the beer delivery.
So you can see, what we do has a long history!