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Beer Money for School Students

It may seem to be a strange tradition that the Brewers’ Company gives “Beer Money” to students from the schools which we support, but there is a long history that explains the method in the seeming madness.  On Wednesday this week, year 9 pupils from Aldenham School in Hertfordshire will visit Brewers’ Hall to be presented with a commemorative £5 coin by the Master Brewer – but we’re not expecting them to head straight to the pub!

When Aldenham School was founded in 1597 by a former Master of the Brewers’ Company, Richard Platt, he appointed the Brewers Company as the governors of the school.  Over all of the years since, the Company has been involved in the governance of the school and the strong bond that has been forged between us over the years still persists.

The ceremonial presentation of Beer Money is a much more recent tradition, but its roots date back to the early days of the school.  In the seventeenth century, it would have been usual for even the students at the school to drink beer – which was not as strong as it is today – as it would have been much safer than drinking water which was often dirty and dangerous.  It is likely that the Brewers’ Company provided beer for the students in these early years of the school.

In more recent times, when the presentation of beer to school students was considered somewhat less of a positive thing, the Company began presenting them with commemorative coins instead, symbolically representing the historical link and the Brewers’ Company’s responsibility to the school it has supported for so long.