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The Impact of Tea and Beer on Industrialisation: IELTS Reading Passage with Questions & Answers

Updated on 05 December, 2023

Kanika Pruthi

Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

The Impact of Tea and Beer on Industrialisation Reading Passage:

The dawn of industrialisation, a pivotal era that reshaped societies and economies, may have been influenced by two seemingly mundane beverages: tea and beer. Historians and economists have long debated the catalysts of the Industrial Revolution, and recent scholarship suggests that the mass consumption of these drinks played a more significant role than previously acknowledged.

In 18th century Britain, the rise of industrialisation coincided with a surge in tea and beer consumption. These beverages, beyond serving as staples in the British diet, had far-reaching effects on the workforce's health and productivity, which were critical to the era's industrial strides.

Tea, imported from distant lands, was more than a luxury; it became a necessity. The boiling of water to brew tea helped decrease waterborne diseases, contributing to a healthier and more robust workforce. Moreover, the caffeine in tea acted as a stimulant, keeping workers alert during long shifts in the factories. As a result, tea breaks became a widespread practice, offering respite and rejuvenation.

Similarly, beer, particularly the weaker 'small beer,' was a safer alternative to the often-contaminated water available to the urban populace. Its low alcohol content meant that it could be consumed throughout the day without leading to intoxication, allowing for sustained labor and efficiency.

Additionally, the agriculture required to produce the ingredients for beer and the trade networks needed to import tea were themselves boosted by innovative practices that arose during the Industrial Revolution. This symbiosis between consumption and production fueled the economic engines that drove industrialisation forward.

The processing and distribution of tea and beer also saw significant advancements during this period. Innovations in packaging, storage, and transportation were developed to cater to the increasing demand, which in turn supported the burgeoning industrial infrastructure.

While it would be an oversimplification to credit tea and beer as the sole drivers of industrialisation, it is evident that their impact on society extended well beyond the dining table and into the very heart of the industrial machine.


Q1. What century did the rise of industrialisation in Britain occur?

A. 16th century

B. 17th century

C. 18th century

D. 19th century

Q2. Fill in the blank: The consumption of tea led to a decrease in waterborne diseases due to the requirement of ________ water.

Q3. True or False: The alcohol content in 'small beer' was high enough to cause intoxication.

Q4. Multiple-choice: What was NOT a benefit of tea mentioned in the passage?

A. Decreased waterborne diseases

B. Increased alertness in workers

C. Rejuvenation during breaks

D. Increased alcohol consumption

Q5. Fill in the blank: The Industrial Revolution saw advancements in _______, storage, and transportation of tea and beer.

Q6. True or False: Tea and beer were considered luxury items throughout the Industrial Revolution.

Q7. Multiple-choice: What aspect of beer made it a suitable drink for the workforce?

A. Its flavor

B. Its low alcohol content

C. Its high cost

D. Its color

Q8. Fill in the blank: The agriculture for producing beer ingredients and trade networks for importing tea were boosted by ________ during the Industrial Revolution.

Q9. True or False: Tea breaks became common because they allowed workers to consume alcohol moderately.

Q10. Multiple-choice: According to the passage, tea and beer were:

A. The sole drivers of industrialisation

B. Insignificant to the Industrial Revolution

C. Partial contributors to industrialisation

D. Detrimental to industrial productivity


A1. C. 18th century

A2. Boiling

A3. False

A4. D. Increased alcohol consumption

A5. Packaging

A6. False

A7. B. Its low alcohol content

A8. Innovative practices

A9. False

A10. C. Partial contributors to industrialisation

By exploring the historical context of tea and beer consumption in relation to the advent of industrialisation, IELTS learners can engage with complex textual information and practice the critical thinking required to answer questions accurately. This passage, along with the questions and answers, is tailored to challenge and improve reading comprehension skills necessary for achieving a high score in the IELTS reading section.

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Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

Kanika has 5+ years of experience as a writer and content developer. She has written for a wide range of industry verticals, including hospitality, restaurants, non-profits, finance, IT, HR, technology, payroll, and education. She has worked as a creator for a few leading companies and has also helped brands grow through her creative writing.

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