Why is Gin called mothers ruin?

Ever wondered why gin is called mother’s ruin? Well gin fans here at the Copper Rivet Distillery we love our history and even more we love a good story!

The term mother’s ruin came from all the way back in the early to mid-1700’s when gin was the spirit and booze for the lower classes, selling at just pennies. Advertisement can be found during this time voicing, “Drunk for a penny, Dead for two pence, straw for nothing.


Gin was originally created and used as a medicine that was thought to cure certain illnesses.  However, we now know that it was probably more of a cause then cure. The “gin craze” during this time caused many problems on the streets of London which can be seen in Hogarth picture Gin Lane and particularly with mothers.

Why is gin called mothers ruin?

Gin was nicknamed mother’s ruins because a lot of women had an addiction to the cheap alcoholic drink. Back in those days they didn’t have the information we do now. Consequently, when they became pregnant, they would continue to down their sorrows with gin. As a result, their babies would come out with missing limbs, having disabilities or as still births. Thank god we now know today that it is not wise to drink whilst pregnant!

Not the only reason why gin is called mother’s ruin

This is not the only reason why gin is called mother’s ruin. The death of children under 5 and babies rose to over 70% in 1723. This was result of neglect by mothers who would spend their days too drunk to look after their children. Those women who did manage to care would feed gin to their infants to help the sleep or stop crying.

There you have it

To sum up why is gin called mother’s ruin is because gin was sold at an extremely affordable price to the poorer communities. As a result caused mass addiction. To women with children in particular who would lose control and spend their days in the back of a Gin shop. Whilst pregnant, instead of looking after their children. As a result of neglect and problems that this “gin craze” caused, an act was bought into law during the 1729. This to help drop the sales of gin and decrease health problems in the poorer communities. This resulted in a raise of duty (tax) and license to make gin. Which has affected the price we pay today, for example a bottle Dockyard gin from Copper Rivet Distillery is £29 instead of before where it was pennies.

If there is one thing we have learnt from Gin Lane and the story of Mother’s Ruins is that we all should drink responsibly. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a bottle of Dockyard Dry Gin.

Dockyard Gin
Dockyard Dry Gin

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