Tavern Tales: Tavern Pricing


This week’s #TavernTales post focuses on their pricing structure.

Did you know that the prices were set by the government throughout, and beyond, the colonial period? The two lists in this post show prices in 1666 and 1769.

You can see from the two lists that from 1666 to 1769 there was an expansion of offerings at the taverns; particularly in the variety of alcohol. The two lists also indicate an increase in the number of horses in the colony from the 17th century to the 18th century. Though some folks had horses in 1666, there were not enough to make a regulation about them until later.

Another item of interest is how cheap the “night’s lodging in a bed” is when compared to most everything else on the list. It is relatively cheap because you are not guaranteed a room to your own. You may not get a bed to your own. And the linens are not being washed on a daily basis.

It should be noted that tavern keepers could offer food and drink not on the official price list. There are many instances of plates of oysters, lamb, and other foods being consumed by tavern patrons.

The prices from 1666 are in pounds of tobacco. The prices from 1769 are in British currency (pounds : shillings : pence)

Text version of the image:

Prices in 1666

French Brandy per gallon: 120 lbs tobacco French wine per gallon: 40 lbs tobacco Canary or Malligoe wine ditto: 100 lbs tobacco Madera or Portuguese wine ditto: 60 lbs tobacco Strong cider ditto: 20 lbs tobacco Clarret: 40 lbs tobacco Strong beer or ale: 20 lbs tobacco Rum: 80 lbs tobacco English spirits (per bottle): 30 lbs tobacco Dutch drams such as Anniseed Rosa Solis per gallon: 60 lbs tobacco Perry or quince per gallon: 30 lbs tobacco A night’s lodging in a bed: 4 lbs tobacco Diet: 10 lbs tobacco

Prices in 1769

Rum per quart: 0:4:0 Ditto made into Rumbo with Loaf sugar: 0:4:6 For every good lemon and six good limes: 0:0:6 Maderia wine per quart: 0:4:6 Claret imported from Great Britain in bottles: 0:6:0 Ditto in casks: 0:5:0 Port wine per quart: 0:4:0 Lisbon ditto: 0:3:6 Quart of Maderia wine made into lemonade with loaf sugar: 0:6:0 Cyder, quince drink, and perry per quary: 0:0:4 Strong beer and ale imported from Great Britain in bottles wired: 0:2:0 Small beer per gallon: 0:1:0 Strong beer brewed in this province per quart: 0:0:9 Nights lodging in a bed: 0:0:6 Hot diet with a pint of cyder or beer: 0:1:6 Cold diet with ditto: 0:1:0 Oats and corn per gallon: 0:0:8 Fresh water, hay, corn tops, or oat straw with stableage for a horse per night: 0:1:0 Ditto with marsh hay: 0:0:8 Good pasturage for a horse per night: 0:0:6 Breakfast of tea or coffee with bread and butter: 0:1:0

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#pricing #1666 #1769