The Beer Act of 1830, which abolished beer duty and allowed almost anyone to open a pub selling only beer, was a huge boost to the brewing industry. This table should give you some idea of the explosive growth in so-called "beerhouses".
The number of pubs per head of population has been in decline pretty much ever since the late 1830's. Initially, the reduction wwas brought about by being stricter about issuing new licences. By the last decades of the 19th century, licensing authorities were actively seeking to delicense small pubs. The idea was to have a smaller number of better-quality pubs, known as ïmproved public houses".
For comparison purposes, this table also includes figures from 2001. Note especially the switch between on and off licences.
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