"one who makes and sells ale, a brewer," early 14c. (early 13c. as a surname), probably originally "a female brewer" (though most of the early surnames on the records are of men), from brew (v.) + -ster. Compare Old French braceresse, Medieval Latin brasiatrix "female brewer," and Clarice le Breweres on the 1312 Colchester Borough Court Rolls.
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