|Ginger Beer originated in England from its predecessors Mead & Metheglin. Metheglin was a naturally carbonated, yeast-fermented honey beverage, which often included spices such as ginger, cloves and mace.
Originally Ginger Beer also included special yeast for fermentation and was sweetened with honey, molasses or sugar cane. After brewing the Ginger Beer was poured into stone bottles then corked to maintain the natural effervescence.
Up through the mid-1800's many Ginger Beers contained a significant amount of alcohol (about 11%). Limitations in England in 1855 required that non-excisable beverages contain less than 2% alcohol, which led bottlers of Ginger Beer to dilute their brewed concentrate with carbonated water.
HISTORY OF BARRITT'S BERMUDA STONE GINGER BEER IN BERMUDA
William John Barritt came to Bermuda from England in 1839 to work in law enforcement. He eventually became Head Jailer at the old Hamilton Jail. He left the Prison Service when his request for a pay increase to support his wife and 12 children was denied.
In 1874 W.J. opened a dry goods shop on the corner of Front & King Streets in Hamilton, with a small mineral water bottling machine in the back room. This is where Barritt's Ginger Beer started.
W.J. Barritt died the same year he started the firm and his son John Barritt took over. The business has remained in the family ever since, becoming John Barritt & Son when Frederick G. Barritt joined the firm in 1903. Fred's sons Leon and Bobby joined the firm in 1923 and 1950 respectively and today the fifth generation of the Barritt family, Bruce and Fred, continue the proud Heritage of selling Bermuda's Best Beverages, including Barritt's Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer.