According to a small article that l read the other day, a number of pubs at one time only served beer, the reason was that their license only allowed such sales! As the article went onto to say 150 years ago these ale houses and a few including such names as The Volunteer and the Vine in Warwick, could not provide spirituous liquors.
The fact that to sell only beer was the norm at the time, it was only the drink that their patrons, quaffed down in tankards! The problem was that a number of the patrons from out-of-town and the rise of the tourist, led a number of people to order spirits which due to not have a license, that allowed such a provision ,they were not able to comply.
So at the annual licensing day in Warwickshire there were two applications from ale house keepers, for a certificate to sell spirits. It was only then that both licenses were granted and public houses become no longer just ale houses, but could equally cater as a hostelry for the out of towners’ and the new tourists from various other countries, that started flocking into Warwickshire.
According to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licensing_laws_of_the_United_Kingdom the alcohol licensing laws of the United Kingdom regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol, with separate legislation for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland being passed, as necessary, by the UK parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the Scottish Parliament.
In 2006, Parliament replaced the previous licensing laws for England and Wales, regulated under several different Acts, with a single unified system covering a range of “regulated activities”. Rules as to when establishments can open, for how long, and under what criteria are now not laid down in statute but are individual to the premises and are contained in the conditions on each premises licence
- Henry Clay’s Law License – Pic of the Week (blogs.loc.gov)