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Inn-Keeping

Running a pub, inn, or restaurant. In inns, beer was sold, and sometimes brewed; mead was also produced, and, beginning in the sixteenth century, vodka was also distilled. Some pubs situated on important roads provided accommodation and stables (inns). Inns were a place for dancing and entertainment, and sometimes sessions of the village court would also meet there. Groceries and clothes could also be sold there.
Until the sixteenth century, running an inn was passed down from father to son; then the szlachta (nobility) tried to change this by introducing leases for them, which were increasingly given to Jews. Beer and spirits made on the noble estates were produced there, this being one of the szlachta's main sources of income. In the first half of the seventeenth century, leased inns were in 25% of the szlachta-owned villages in Wielkopolska and Malopolska. There were fewer of them in areas having very large landed estates. In the eighteenth century, when the number of inns grew significantly and were usually found in most of the szlachta villages, inn-keeping became one of the main occupations for Jews in small towns and villages.
(H.W./CM)

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