We don’t get a say in how we ‘meet our maker’ but if we did, people in London’s Fitzrovia possibly did so in the most spectacular fashion. Oliver Reed and Keith Moon would certainly have doffed their hats to them. They literally drowned in a tidal wave of beer!

As these things go, it’s an interesting way to check out. Initial shock, confusion and panic, giving way to period of “Mmmm, beer!” Then into euphoric drunkenness, before a soporific stupor and finally lung gurgling drowning – all condensed into maybe a couple of minutes.

The Horseshoe Brewery (Meux’s Brewery), cca. 1910
Courtesy of  New York Public Library’s Digital Library.
The ale-based tragedy occurred at The Horseshoe Brewery, which was situated on the site of what is now The Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road.
A massive brewery vat collapsed and gave way under pressure.
In 1814 a massive brewery vat collapsed as corroded hoops buckled and gave way under pressure. A staggering 7,600 barrels of beer – over 1.2 million litres or 2.2 million pints – destroyed two houses, flooded cellars and killed nine residents. Eight died pretty much instantly, the ninth died a day later of what must have been the most spectacular case of alcohol poisoning.