Inhabitants of Great Britain have been brewing and drinking ale since the Bronze Ages. The province of Britannia and its capital Londinium were ruled by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago. Romans were great builders of roads that connected tabernae, which served food, wine, and local ale. These tabernae displayed vine leaves outside to advertise their trade.

After the Romans left, alehouses became common, as ale was safer than water, which was becoming increasingly polluted with an expanding Medieval population. In 1393, King Richard II ordered: "Whosoever shall brew ale in the town with intention of selling it must hang out a sign; otherwise, he shall forfeit his ale." These signs were to make them easily visible to the mostly illiterate populace and to the king’s ale inspectors.