1688 - 1690 CE
William of Orange secures the English throne with gin

William of Orange was placed on the throne of England in 1688 after the Glorious Revolution that ousted James II. England was a mess. Affluence and extreme poverty existed side by side in London. “A Tallow Chandler shall front my Lord’s nice Venetian Window; and two or three naked Curriers [leather dressers] in their pits shall face a fine lady in her back closet, and disturb her spiritual thoughts.” What's more, England had a glut of grain so the landowners, who had put William on the throne, could not sell their crops.

William who understood how Genever (gin) had created a demand for grain in his native Holland and was anxious to please the landowners, introduced a law that allowed anyone in England to distill alcohol using English grain. It was a great success—stills sprang up all over the country converting low quality grain into gin and taxes rolled into the treasury.

Source: Gately. (2008). Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol. Penguin.

Drugs: Alcohol
Regions: UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
Topics: Cultivation, production and trade, Taxation and regulation