DRINK FOR VICTORY!

Britain’s public houses provided an opportunity to escape the war for an hour or two, but it became increasingly difficult to find your preferred tipple as the conflict ground on

The subject of drink and drinking caused a complete government u-turn from one world war to another.

In World War One, teetotal minister of munitions David Lloyd George declared war on Britain’s brewing industry, stating: “We are fighting Germany, Austria and drink; and as far as I can see, the greatest of these three deadly foes is drink.” The government closed breweries, cut pub opening times to just five hours a day, reduced beer production and even made it illegal to buy or ‘treat’ a drink for a friend. Come World War Two, temperance campaigners attempted to push Britain a step closer to total prohibition. However, this time, authority thought differently.

Realising social drinking was a boon for morale, not only did the government leave the brewing industry to ‘carry on’, but it never rationed beer. Moreover, the government did not restrict pub opening hours. In theory, at least, pubs could open 11.30am-3pm, then 5.30pm-10.30pm.

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

No subscription?

Pick one of our introductory offers