In reality, it was the set price that blocked them from making a real profit on the beer I offered to them. From what I remembered, with all the prices included and the cost of actually brewing a barrel, one could earn threefold the price of normal beer, making my proposition far less appealing than one might think at the first glance.
"That's exactly what I meant. While by saying - my lands - I already included Pilzno and all the other villages owned by my sweetheart. But before I speak about anything else from what I wanted to bring up today, you guys need to make up your mind."
Standing up, I moved away from the chair and stood behind Elia, placing my hands on her shoulders.
"If you want to cooperate with me and profit from all the policies that I will soon implement in this territory, you need to be quick-witted enough to keep up with my pace. If you don't think this is a good deal, you are free to go and I won't hold it against you in the future, let God be the witness of those words!"
Compared to future times, swearing on God holds way greater weight than one might think. I basically told them that no matter what they will do from now on, be it joining or abandoning my idea, I wouldn't meddle with them any longer!
One by one, the people from around the table were standing up… and leaving.
Without even speaking a word, out of everyone that attended this meeting in the first place, only five of them remained. While it pained my heart to see how many of them could see the endless benefits of my idea after the initial costs and hurdles would be done with, as I promised, I wasn't going to make things hard for them. Basically, they just gave up their businesses to me!
"Now, that we are in the smaller group, I want to tell you about several other plans I want to implement, starting with the problem of food."
While Commonwealth was already considered a granary of Europe, with how many nobles considered the arable production as their main source of income, the hunger was an old friend to most of the commoners, no matter how much a noble wanted to care for them. Even my great ancestor didn't manage to eradicate this problem from his lands, taking the hunger as the most natural thing in the world, as the ultimate tool separating those weak from the strong.
The problem of hunger didn't stem from the lack fo sources of food for everyone to enjoy, but simply from the lack of knowledge necessary for people to recognise what could be made with the limited resources they had on hand!
"Before the production of the beer will truly start on a mass scale, I want you guys to take care of the problem of hunger. But while this sounds as asking for a miracle, it's nowhere near as hard!"
Gesturing at my servants once again, I grabbed the small sack that he brought with him. Taking out a single root of turnip, handful of pigweed, even smaller sack that gave off a sour smell and a single piece of meat, I spread it out on the table for everyone to see.
All of those items outside of the meat were something that most of the people considered either a weed, wild plant or in other words, something completely worthless. Just by thinking about how much of insanely good flavour that would turn into one of the staple dishes in the future Polish cuisine, I couldn't help but feel pain in my soul.
"As you guys might see, outside of the meat, everything I brough with me is quite common. As for this smaller sack, it's nothing else but sourdough that I poached from the Castle's bakery. Can you guess what those products can be used for?"
Just like in any other mansion or noble's palace, there was a kitchen in it. Before even the meeting started, I already gave the recipe for this famous Polish dish, creamy sour soup to my servants, and considering how long they were had to prepare it, I was certain that I could call for it to be served to my guests at any given moment.
"The turnip and pigweed I do recognise. I heard that in dire times, commoners can eat them to save themselves from hunger, but from what I heard, they have an awful taste, isn't that right?"
Instead of the men at the table, it was Elia who answered my question. With her eyes filled with curiosity, she continuously switched her gaze from my face and the products on the table, as if hoping to find any clue about what did I mean by bringing something that even commoners abhorred to eat.
"The dish is already prepared in the kitchen. Bring it, on one leg!"
Pushing the servant away, I turned my head back to the five men waiting for my explanation once again.
"You don't need to worry. I will be the first one to have a taste, as I can't wait to enjoy this flavour once again."
Instead of explaining everything right away, I simply waited for the servants to bring a big pot inside, and start pouring its content into small bowls before distributing them to everyone.
Taking the initiative to calm everyone down, I grabbed a simple spoon from the table and submerged it into soup, scooping out several fragments of what looked like white potato before raising it to my mouth.
As soon as it passed by the line of my lips, I felt the familiar yet way too sour taste of my beloved soup. While the turnip wasn't as tasty as potato, if I wanted to make it exactly the same as the dinner my mother used to do once in a while, I would've to travel all the way to Spain or Portugal, buy the first potatoes that were only starting to flood the continent and patiently wait for a few years for the harvest to be big enough to allow actual use of the vegetable.
"What is this?!"
Initially, everyone - even including Elia - wasn't so sure as to what to expect, but as soon as they got their first taste, their once reluctant spoons started moving all over as if they were scared I would take the bowls away from them.
"This is one of the cheapest and tastiest soups, who can fill one's belly for the entire day without a fail. I will pay for all the expenses brought by this, but I want you to gather those resources, namely, turnip, pigweed, meat and sourdough that you can get in any amounts from any bakery around the city. As soon as you will get the hang on making it properly, I will provide you with special carriages with a small kitchen mounted on top of them."
While the vehicles I just mentioned only existed on the paper, for now, it wasn't something hard to produce. Just by placing a metal or even stone slab on top of the carriage and using it as a base for a simple stove was way more than enough.
"I want you to take those carriages to the fields, where most people will be able to reach you. For the first month, you will distribute the soup to everyone for free, while claiming that after the time of my sponsorship, everyone will be able to still get their fill for just five silvers a month. Considering that every carriage will be able to provide a proper meal for at least two hundred people and the cost of making this soup for a single person only amounts to about two silvers a month… I think you can calculate your profits by yourselves!"
The offer I gave to those people had both brights parts and downsides to it. The first thing that one could think about, was the lack of ability to set new taverns without my consent. But upon closer inspection, how many of them could actually afford to do so? While the prices of the land were far lower than in the future, it wasn't that easy to obtain it from the nobles who were the sole landowners in the entire country with the exception of the crown.