The history of beer is largely working-class history, which means, given the status of working-class history, much of it is forgotten. When itâ€™s black working-class history â€¦ Thus the long love of rural (and urban) working-class Jamaicans â€“ and probably other West Indians as well â€“ for draught porter is a subject you will struggle to find recorded anywhere.
Draught porter was sold from draught porter shops, in existence in Kingston, Jamaica from at least the Edwardian era; from casks in refreshment parlors that also sold fried fish and bread; and also by travelling salesmen, who would call out â€œdraaf porter!â€ as they travelled on foot around rural villages in the Jamaican interior, carrying a large tin container with a spout, and cans in quart, pint, half-pint and gill (quarter-pint, pronounced â€œjillâ€) sizes, for serving. Jamaica also had itinerant ice-cream salesmen, who would sell a blend of â€œfriscoâ€â€”ice-cream and â€œsnow ballâ€, shaved ice flavored with fruit syrup, mixed togetherâ€”and â€œa measure of draught porter for the older folks.â€ A report in the Kingston Gleaner in August 1936 described a treat for the â€œdeserved poorâ€ of Linstead, in the Jamaican countryside 20 miles from Kingston, where an â€œappreciable sumâ€ was collected by the local Salvation Army to buy and distribute rations of beef, rice, bread, cake, soap and iced draught porter to more than 300 people.
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