The gin crisis was severe. From 1689 onward the English government encouraged the industry of distilling, as it helped prop up grain prices which were then low, and increase trade, particularly with England’s colonial possessions. In the heyday of the industry, there was no quality control whatsoever (gin was frequently mixed with turpentine), and licences for distilling required only the application.
When it became apparent that copious gin consumption was causing social problems, efforts were made to control the production of the spirit. The Gin Act 1736 imposed high taxes on sales of gin, forbade the sale of the spirit in quantities of less than two gallons and required an annual payment of £50 for a retail licence.
This had little effect beyond increasing smuggling and driving the distilling trade underground. Francis Place later wrote that enjoyments for the poor of this time were limited: they had often had only two: “…sexual intercourse and drinking,” and that “…drunkenness is by far the most desired…” as it was cheaper and its effects more enduring.
During the process of creating Morality Gin and where the world is heading these days, we found it appropriately interesting to tie Morality onto our great Gin, and like morality these days we keep on refining it. Like Oscar Wild said, “Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.”