Brewing Science, Technology and Print, 1700-1880

Brewing Science, Technology and Print, 1700-1880

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How did the brewing of beer become a scientific process? Sumner explores this question by charting the theory and practice of the trade in Britain and Ireland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. From an oral culture derived from home-based skills, brewing industrialized rapidly and developed an extensive trade literature, based increasingly on the authority of chemical experiment. The role of taxation is also examined, and the emergence of brewing as a profession is set within its social and technical context.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 28mm
  • University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Pittsburgh PA, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0822965313
  • 9780822965312

Review quote

"Fantastic scholarship has produced a book that is essential reading for anyone interested in a vital and fascinating slice of British brewing history."
--Martyn Cornell, author of Beer: The Story of the Pint "Beer has always been a staple of life in Britain; this book puts it at the centre of the history of science too. In this wide-ranging and authoritative account, Sumner reveals the complex processes that led to the creation of 'brewing science' from books, vats, instruments and philosophies. His lively survey opens up new avenues for understanding the circulation of knowledge and the emergence of new scientific disciplines."
--Jim Secord, University of Cambridge "An important addition to the expanding literature of material culture in the history of science, exploring new topics such as the industrial appropriation of scientific instruments. Sumner's narrative also provides an exemplary account of the rise of experts . . . essential reading for anyone interested in the joint development of chemistry and brewing."
--Ambix "This book is groundbreaking both in its quality and scope in addressing the history of the application of science in brewing. Sumner succeeds in putting brewing practice into the commercial, political, fiscal, social and scientific/technological context of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. His is a beautifully-written book with a lucid, well structured presentation . . . scholarly and entertaining. This book is to brewhouse what the revered book by Peter Mathias, The Brewing Industry in England 1700-1830, is to the counting house. There can be no higher praise."
--Brewery History
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About James Sumner

James Sumner is senior lecturer in the history of technology at the University of Manchester.
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