In 1720 London and other major English cities were in the group of the 'Gin Craze'. At the time, cheap bad liquor flavored with juniper, which bore no resemblance to the gin as we know it today.
Englishmen like a drink, but during the 'gin crazethey were really unstoppable. In London alone, about seventy liters of spirits are produced for every man, woman and child every year.
Most of it was of course for the poor, and was an unprecedented bend that was flavored with juniper (like substances). London's upper classes despised that cheap stuff and continued to drink expensive imported Dutch jenever. The cheap gin later got many nicknames such as: Madam Geneva, Ladies Delight and Kill-Grief.