Jesus Chris
It is probably not even an exaggeration to say that pretty much everyone in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was in a continuous state of mild inebriation. A Berkshire farmer named Robert Loder, for example, kept accounts from 1611 to 1618 showing that each person in his household drank, on average, between 1 and 1 and a half gallons of beer a day. Likewise, during Elizabeth’s reign, the royal household consumed approximately 600,000 gallons of beer annually. That household supported between 1000 and 1500 aristocrats and servants, meaning that each person tossed back between 400 and 600 gallons a year, or about 1 to 1 and a half gallons a day. This included children. Dietary handbooks did not debate whether children should drink alcohol, but how much. Richard West, in his 1619 ‘Schoole of Vertue,’ was typical: ‘Let not a childe drinke above twice or thrice at the most at one meal, and that gently, and not without reason: who bestoweth wine and beer on his childe beyond reason, defameth and abuseth him.’
? (from “Cooking with Shakespeare” by Mark Morton and Andrew Coppolino, Greenwood Press, 2008, p. 267)