Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Scotland's Brewing Industry in 1938

Another copout post as I can't be arsed to write anything properly. Damn being ill.

This is a nice little overview of Scottish brewing on the eve of WW II. Its not a bad article.

"SCOTLAND'S BREWING INDUSTRY
High Reputation for "Quality"
[BY ROBERT BRUCE , C. A., J. P.]

POPULAR conception of Scotland and its products is very apt to identify the country with distilling of whisky, ignoring what, after all, is a very stable and important industry — the brewing of beer — which has contributed to Scotland's social and industrial life since the time of the great abbeys and monasteries of years ago.

A specialised industry such as this does not, as rule, establish itself without special reasons and advantages, and brewing centres in Scotland (Edinburgh, Alloa, &c.) are particularly favoured by the type of water which is available from their special wells, which provide naturally perfect water for the production of the first quality of beers. In addition, the broad acres of farm land in the Lowlands of Scotland provide barleys of the high grade essential for the production of malt liquors.

As the centuries rolled on breweries were enlarged and modernised. The somewhat slipshod methods of old were replaced by highly specialised technical methods assisted by the most meticulous scientific control, with the object, of not only maintaining quality but also of improving the stability, flavour and character of the product. This, combined with modern transport, has enabled Scotland to send its ales broadcast throughout the world and the reputation once purely local is now not only national but world-wide. As an example of the progress made in this industry, it is estimated that between £5,000,000 and £6,000,000 is paid annually in duty to the Exchequer.

The Local Trade
Trade in Scotland may be termed "local trade" inasmuch as it is trade competed for by Scottish brewers only for all practical purposes. The main sale here is for beer sold to the public on draught, and naturally the largest output is in the industrial areas such as the coalfields of the Lothians, Fife, and West of Scotland, and the engineering and shipbuilding districts of the Clyde. This trade is dependent on volume of wages very largely and, therefore, fluctuates considerably with the trade barometer, and as this barometer has been rising of late so sales have been recovering from the low levels of recent years in these districts . During the last few years there has been a very important development in the practice of brewers bottling their own article and this has, to a certain extent, displaced the sale of beer bottled by independent bottlers. This has only been to a certain degree, however, as there is no doubt that the sale of bottled beer has increased very materially of recent years. This is especially true of the present time as, with increased spending power, the sale of bottled beer has shown a marked rise, which seems to point to the fact that this class of trade will tend to show extreme fluctuations, depending upon the relative prosperity. There is, of course, a very important trade still done in beers bottled by outside bottlers, especially in districts at a distance from the source of supply.

In England
The trade here consists almost entirely of bulk beer — either to be consumed as draught beer or to be  bottled by outside bottlers, the exception to this being lager beer. While beer is sent to every district, even to the extreme South, the great volume is despatched to the North of England with its vast population employed in the heavy and other industries, and this district may be termed a veritable "cockpit", for brewers as it is open to intensive competition by Scottish, Burton, and local brewers.

While a certain number of licensed premises are owned by brewers, as is allowed by the Licensing Laws of England, there is nevertheless a large volume of trade which is at most competitive prices, and the rapidly rising costs may have a very important bearing on the financial results of this trading. So far as output is concerned, however, the prosperous conditions in heavy industries have played their part and, with the large share they hold of this trade, proportionate benefit has accrued to Scotland.

Export Trade
This is of special concern to Scotland as over 50 per cent of Great Britain's beer exports, and practically the whole of the bulk beer consumed by our troops abroad, is exported from Scotland.

Conditions have changed materially during recent years, local breweries have been established in many countries, and this, combined with adverse tariffs, has curtailed opportunities of profitable trade, Australia and South Africa — at one time our largest customers — have practically ceased to import, and local breweries in the Straits Settlements, Egypt, India, &c. are all combining to diminish the trade done in the various markets. In addition, there is a very intensive competition from other countries, especially in the case of lager beer. Notwithstanding this, the improvement in world conditions and spending power have their effect on the consumption of bottled beer and, with plentiful money, the extra cost of imported beer is overlooked, and what may be in the nature of a luxury is indulged in more freely.

The Outlook
The future is more difficult to forecast; the conditions referred to will continue to exist and, in the case of export, competition will increase rather than decrease. One serious problem is the increase of costs, which have risen consistently of late, and even now the full effect of this has not yet been felt and unfortunately there is no sign of any decreasebut on the contrary, every likelihood of further continued increases. As outstanding examples peculiar to brewing, the cost of barley has risen 80 per cent and of casks 60 per cent; these, combined with rising freights, carriage, coal, &c, all mean the profitable margin being reduced, and, in certain cases where heavy carriage is involved, may even mean the impossibility of doing business on a profitable basis. In view of this it is the more essential that output should be kept up and, given favourable conditions, it is hoped that this will be achieved, though probably at a sacrifice of profit for out-turn. Certainly no effort will be spared to ensure that the high reputation of the product will be maintained and that "quality" will be the watchword."
The Scotsman - Friday 29 April 1938, page 60.
It's weird how often the availability of good Scottish barley is mentioned as a reason for there to be ea big brewing industry in Scotland. Yet I don't see a great amount of it in brewing records. Edinburgh brewers got a lot of theirs from East Anglia. It's not uncommon to find beers in the breweing records where the only Scottish ingredients are the yeast and water.

Bottled beer certainly boomed in popularity between the wars. Not always for positive reasons. After the WW I gravity drop, publicans often struggled to keep the new, weaker beers in good condition. In response, drinkers became wary of draught beer and drank either bottled beer or draught and bottled mixed.

The Northeast of England was a hugely important market for Scottish brewers, whi tended to look more aggressively for export markets than their Englsih counterparts. It made sense. Brewers in London, for example, had an emormous market on their doorstep.

Scottish brewers had sold enormous a,ounts of beer to Australia. Around 1900 almost all the beer being imported into Australia came from Scotland. The only exexceptions being the odd London Stout an Burton Pale Ale. Heavy important duties introduced after confederation to protect Australian brewers totally destroyed this trade.

It's true that 50% - or even more - of British exports came from Scotland between the wars. Considering Scotland only accounts for about 10% of the UK population, that was enormously out of proportion.

The future was certainly difficult to forecast. Another World War and the loss of Empire would have a hige impact on the Scottish brewing industry. No-one could really see them coming in 1938.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Hops in the 1850's

Thanks to qq for pointing me in the direction of this.

It's taken from the report of a parliamentary committee into the workins of the hop duty. These reports are great sources. Because they asked people really involved in the trade about its workins. And those witnesses see mto have answered pretty honestly.

This section provides an overview of the hop growing regions and what types of hops were grown there. The man being questioned was a hop merchant.
"1492. Mr. B. Blakemore.] I think in Sussex they grow there principally the grape and the Colegate hops? —Yes.

1493. Are those the coarser sorts or the finer sort? —They are the coarser sorts.

1494. Could you give any idea of the average produce of that land per acre? —I think it is reported at 11.5 cwt.

1495. Mr. Brande.] Are you speaking of one year? —One year, 1856.

1496. Mr. B. Blakemore.] What are the sorts grown in the Weald of Kent? —Generally grapes, and some Jones's, and some Colegates.

1497. Sir John Shelley.] Are those the same sorts that are grown in the Wealds of Sussex? —Yes, I think they are, precisely.

1498. Then when you say the Sussex hops are of a coarser sort than the Kent hops, do you mean that the Colegate hop, and the grape hop, or Jones hop
grown in Sussex is a coarser hop than those of the same kind grown in the Weald of Kent? —There is a little difference in the Sussex hop compared with
the Weald of Kent ; they are, I think, in most instances rather a coarser hop.

1499. Are the same hops coarser in Sussex than in Kent? —Yes; it is brought on by the soil.

1500. Mr. B. Blakemore.] In Mid-Kent what are the sorts grown? —In Mid-Kent they have the Goldings, and they have a superior kind of grape hops
called the Canterbury hop.

1501. Are you a general hop merchant ?—I have been.

1502. Do you buy Worcestershire and Herefordshire hops? —No.

1503. You know nothing of their quality? —No. My traveller has bought them when he has been on his journeys, occasionally.

1504. How do you rank them? — Not below Sussex ; I have seen them of a higher quality.

1505. Are they generally coarser? —From what I have seen of them, they are of great variety ; I have seen Worcestershire hops equal to anything grown
in Kent ; but I have seen some no better than Sussex hops.

1506. Do you know much of them from your own experience? —Very little.

1507. Sir Edward Dering.] What do you consider would be the average yield per acre in ordinary years of the Weald of Kent for the last seven years? —I should think 8 cwt., taking blights and large crops together.

1508. What should you think was the average of the Mid-Kent Goldings? — Mr. R. Tooth. There are different sorts ; there is no distinct part Golding hops only ; they have a mixture. of Mid-Kent which grows Golding hops only; they have a mixture.

1509. What should you say was the fair average growth of the hops of Mid-Kent? —I should think 6 cwt. for the period of seven years.

1510. Do you know anything of the East Kent hops? —Yes.

1511. What sorts are grown principally in East Kent?—They have produced great quantities of the Jones's hops lately ; I should think there are onethird
Jones's, one-third Golding's hops, and the other third grapes.

1512. Have the Jones's been introduced into the best districts of East Kent? — It is an additional plantation. I may mention that there has been a greater
demand for the best sorts of hops than there has been a supply for the few last years; so that the best hops really have not been supplied in the quantity the brewers have stood in need of; and hence it has occurred that the East Kent planters, as well as some of the Mid-Kent planters, have introduced the
Jones's hop.

1513. Have the East Kent planters generally diminished or increased their gardens during the last seven years? —I should think rather increased.

1514. Mr. Bass.] That is to say, they have increased generally, but not the fine hops? —Yes.
1515. Have not they increased generally, but diminished the growth of fine hops? —They have not diminished the finer sort. I think they have increased
the produce of the other hops.

1516. Sir Edward Dering.] Do you think there are as many good sorts of East Kent hops grown as there were years ago? —There may be as many, but
the increase of consumption is very considerable ; therefore they require a greater supply."
Report from the Select Committee on Hop Duties, 1857, pages 75-76.
 I'm surprised that the dealer wasn't that impressed by Farnham hops. They seem to have been highly regarded by brewers, who valued them more even that the best Goldings.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Hasseröder

The fate of East German breweries after reunification was pretty random. Some famous names disappeared almost without trace. Some continued on much as before. Then there's Hasseröder. Whose sales have boomed.

Not that they're independent. They're part of AB Inbev. But they're way bigger that they were before. I can't remember seeing their beer in the good old days. And I did spend a fair amount of time in Saxony, where the brewery is located.

The branding after reunification is surprisingly similar to the old labels.






Still feeling shit, hence the post full of pretty labels.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

1917 Kidd Porter (24th July)

The changes in the Beer Orders at the beginning of July 1917 had an impact on all Kidd’s beers. Quite a simple change, really. They all had their gravities cut. Unsurprisingly, to 1036º or less.

Other than the drop in strength, not much changed with Kidd’s Porter. There’s a slight change in the hopping, which went from Kent and Sussex to just Sussex. Fairly old ones, too, as they were from the 1914 and 1915 harvest.

The grist retains the classic pale, brown, black malt backbone. The oats are clearly a token amount, presumably so some could be sold as Oatmeal Stout. There’s also a tiny amount of Spanish juice: 1 pound for 75 barrels. Which works out to 0.03 oz. for a batch of this size.

But this wasn’t where it ended. 1918 was an even tougher year for brewers with increasingly draconian restrictions.


1917 Kidd Porter (24th July)
pale malt 4.75 lb 62.91%
brown malt 0.33 lb 4.37%
black malt 0.33 lb 4.37%
crystal malt 0.33 lb 4.37%
oats 0.06 lb 0.79%
No. 4 invert sugar 1.25 lb 16.56%
caramel 1000 L 0.50 lb 6.62%
Fuggles 135 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.25 oz
OG 1035
FG 1009
ABV 3.44
Apparent attenuation 74.29%
IBU 32
SRM 48
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 135 minutes
pitching temp 60.25º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday, 12 January 2018

How Lager is brewed

I couldn't help thinking of the regular feature in Viz when I stumbled across this image.You know the one wher they show the workings of a TV studio and the like.



"HOW LAGER IS BREWED : BEER MADE WITH YEAST THAT SINKS, INSTEAD OF RISING, AFTER FERMENTATION.
That very popular type of light beer generally called Lager is a favourite alcoholic beverage practically all over the world. Among the hundreds of different kinds of brews it holds a high place in popular esteem, both in the beer-drinking countries and in the Latin world. In English beer (other than lager), a kind of yeast is used that comes to the top after fermentation, whereas in lager the yeast settles to the bottom the fermenting-vessels. That is the difference between the two. Lager, it is claimed, was brewed by the ancient Egyptians, but, of course, its real birthplace, as we know it to-day, was Germany, whose methods of brewing have been copied all over the world. Beer has played very important part in the political history of many countries, and only recently the extra taxation of lager led to political crisis in Bavaria. Lager differs from other beers inasmuch as the maturing period is much longer, for, whereas the type of beer most native to England remains in the cellars for one week only in many cases, and three weeks at the most, lager remains maturing from four to six months, which, it is claimed, tends to make it highly digestible. This lengthy conditioning or maturing period during manufacture gave the beer its name, for lager is the German word for storage,” In Messrs. Barclay Perkins and Co.’s brewery the brew remains untouched by hand throughout each process, and everywhere scrupulous cleanliness is observed. Even the yeast used for fermentation is cultivated from the original cell in a wonderful machine, so that the yeast that goes into the fermenting-vessels is absolutely pure and free from disease."
Illustrated London News - Saturday 28 June 1930, page 38.

Lager, the 1930's and Barclay Perkins. How could I resist?

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Publicans and Bottled Beer Prices

Wartime restrictions and regulation of the brewing trade didn’t end with the Armistice. In particular, price control continued until 1921.

That the authorities took the regulations seriously is clear from this report of prosecutions for selling beer at too high a price.

Publicans and Bottled Beer Prices. — Three cases of overcharging for bottled beer were dealt with by Sheriff-Substitute Orr at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday. James Archibald, spirit merchant, 94 High Street, Fisherrow, pleaded guilty to selling to a Food Inspector a bottle of "Bass" of the original gravity of 1054 degrees containing 15 fluid ounces at 10d., which was in excess of the maximum price of 7.5d. and also that he had failed to post a notice in his shop showing the retail price of beer. Mr H. Millar, solicitor, stated that prior to 1st March last publicans were entitled to sell Bass and other bottled beer at 11d., and that the general practice was to charge 10d. Under the new Order the control charges were based on imperial measurement. The authorities, however, did not appear to be cognisant of the way beer was sold in Scotland — namely, by reputed pints. The imperial pint was defined as 20 fluid ounces, and the half-pint 10 fluid ounces, whereas the Scottish reputed pint came out to between 12 and 13 ounces. In Scotland the bottles were all of different sizes, and to comply with the regulations the publicans would require to measure every bottle to arrive at a correct price according to the schedule. The Procurator-Fiscal stated that the trouble arose out of the difficulty caused by the reputed pint bottle. But the Local Authorities had agreed with the trade that bottles containing 12.3 ounces could be sold at 8d., which left a slight margin in favour of the trader. Unfortunately certain publicans were selling at a higher figure. His Lordship imposed a fine of £1. Fred A. Lumley, Imperial Hotel, 143 Leith Street, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty through an agent to selling by the hands of a servant a bottle of stout of the original gravity of 1054 degrees containing 11.5 fluid ounces at 10d., the maximum price being 7d. The agent explained his client was unaware of the new Order. The licence-holders were disputing with the Food Controller the question of the new schedule. His Lordship observed that Scotland seemed to be, as usual, ignorant of the passing of the new Order. A fine of £3 was imposed. This fine was also imposed upon Malcolm Urquhart, Waterloo Bar, Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, who had sold through a servant two bottles of lager beer of 1046 degrees, each containing 13 fluid ounces, at the price of 10d., the maximum being 7d. He had also failed to exhibit a notice showing the retail price of beer.”
The Scotsman - Tuesday 27 April 1920, page 4.

I really don’t get the defence of not knowing about the new Orders, because they raised the maximum prices in April 1920.

The reputed pint defence is a more interesting one. Reputed pints and reputed quarts had been common bottle sizes in the 19th century, not just in Scotland but in England, too. And even further afield than that: the reputed pint was also in use in Australia and lives on in the Victorian schooner. By the time of WW I, Imperial measures seem to have been the norm in England.

Claiming that every bottle was a different size is also an interesting line to take. How the hell did they know how to price anything if that were the case?

The Imperial Hotel was demolished in 1973. In its later days it seems to have sold William Younger’s beers. Its site is now occupied by John Lewis. The Waterloo Bar is still going strong.

This is the final incarnation of the Beer Price Orders, which was in force when the offences were committed:

Sales of Beer by Retail in a Public Bar or for Consumption off the Premises.
Beer by gravity  Non-bottled Bottled Price per
price per pint half pint pint  quart
Under 1020º 3d. 3d. 6d. 10d.
1020º - 1027º 4d. 3.5d. 7d. 11d.
1027º - 1033º 5d. 4d. 7.5d. 1/1d
1033º - 1039º 6d. 4.5d. 8d. 1/3d
1039º - 1046º 7d. 5.5d. 9d. 1/5d
1046º 1054º 8d. 6.5d. 11d. 1/7d
above 1054º 9d. 7d. 1/1d 1/9d
Source:
 "The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101. 


The maximum prices given in the article do seem to be taking into account the the bottle size was a reputed, rather than an Imperial, pint.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1918 Kidd DA

Brewers got up to some weird shit during WW I. Especially when it came to extremely low-gravity beer.

Brewers were restricted both with regards to how much they could brew, and its strength. For them the Holy Grail was higher gravity beer, on which there were no price controls and was consequently more profitable.

This beer was originally brewed 5th April 1918, just a few days after new harsh regulations were introduce on 1st April:

“average gravity of all beer brewed shall not exceed 1030º for great Britain and 1045º for Ireland, and that no beer shall be brewed below 1010º: and prices fixed at 4d. per pint below 1030º, and 5d. per pint for 1030º to 1034º.”
"The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101.

The goal was to brew enough beer below 1030º so that you could brew some above 1034º. This set of regulations were the first to specify a minimum OG for beer. That they bothered to set a limit as low as 1010º implies that brewers had been making weaker beers, incredible as that might sound.

The 145 barrels Kidd brewed of DA meant that they could brew 145 barrels of beer at 1045º, or a larger quantity at, say, 1036º.

Whitbread brewed a version of their GA that was even weaker than this, just 1011º. But that was a very weak parti-gyle of conventionally-brewed GA. Whereas I wouldn’t really count Kidd DA as a beer as it contains no malt, being brewed from just sugar and hops.

It’s a bit of a weird devil. It’s hardly fermented, which I guess was deliberate to leave some body. They achieved the low attenuation, I believe, by keeping the fermentation cool. It was pitched at 59º and the temperature dropped a little to 58.5º F. Believe it or not, it fermented for 5 days. It was also massively underpitched. Kidd usually pitched 70-80 lbs of yeast for a brew of this size. DA received just 12 lbs.


1918 Kidd DA
glucose 2.00 lb 91.95%
cane sugar 0.13 lb 5.75%
caramel 2000 L 0.05 lb 2.30%
Fuggles 30 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.01 oz
OG 1015
FG 1012
ABV 0.40
Apparent attenuation 20.00%
IBU 15
SRM 9
Mash at n/a
Sparge at n/a
Boil time 30 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Will more heavy beer be brewed?

In the later war years the regulations concerning beer – the Beer Orders – were reviewed every three months.

As we’ve already heard, the revision to the Beer Orders in July 1917 introduced the first restriction on gravity. The next set three months later introduced price controls.

"July 1 1917: Statutory output for quarter increased by 33 1/3 per cent. to rate of 15,043,000 standard barrels, half the beer to be brewed at a gravity not exceeding 1036º, 20 per cent. offered to all brewers on those terms, the balance of 13 1/2 per cent. being brewed under special licence for consumption in munition areas.

Oct. 1 1917: Rate and conditions of previous quarter continued but gravity for one-half of the output raised to 1042º. Prices also fixed at 4d. per pint under 1036º, 5d. per pint under 1042º."
"The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101.

The sub 1036º beer was generally referred to as Government Ale. Something which soon became the butt of jokes because of its low strength.

Here was the reaction of the trade to the new regulations:

THE NEW BEER ORDERS
WILL MORE HEAVY BEER BE BREWED?
In view of the coming into operation at the end of the month of the new Beer Order, a meeting of brewers is to be held in Edinburgh to-day, and the retailers in the trade are to consider matters, as they affect them, to-morrow. What will occupy their attention chiefly will be the general question of the price of beer, and the procedure to be adopted regarding the 4d. and 5d. per imperial pint classes. In regard to the matter of any changes in the quality of beer to be brewed, that, it is understood, will not be under consideration at to-day's meeting. That will be left to the individual brewer to deal with as he thinks fit. It has been thought that one result of the Order will be to decrease the amount brewed of beer of a lighter gravity. That, it is stated, is not likely to be the case, not at least to any marked extent, seeing that 20 per cent. increase in production has been allowed the brewers under the Order and as one brewer put it, "Why, when our output has been so restricted of late, should we lose the opportunity of taking full advantage of that concession or allowance." It is a matter that must be left to the individual brewers themselves whether or not they will make more beer of a heavier gravity and less of a lighter and in view of the small margin of profit to be allowed on the lighter beers — the 4d. and 5d. per pint sorts — there may be a tendency to do that in certain quarters. But such a course will certainly not be general, and there is a feeling that the class of beer to be brewed under the new Order will, taking it all over, hot be very different from that now being produced. If the retailers show a preference for heavier beer, in regard to which there is no limitation in price, that may have its influence on the manufacturers, though, of course, there is a limit, fixed by Government, in regard to the production of such beers. Brewers are bound down in that connection.”
The Scotsman - Wednesday 24 October 1917, page 6.

Retailers – publicans, really – were interested in selling non-price controlled beer because they made more profit. One of the problems with the system of price controls was that it only applied to the retail price, not the wholesale price. Publicans complained that the wholesale price demanded by brewers didn’t leave them a sufficient margin to make a living.

Why was the brewer quoted not keen on brewing more stronger beer? Because he wanted to brew as much beer as possible. The general consensus seems to be that nothing was going to change very much. Radical change would happen a few months later in 1918. When things started to get really bad for brewers and drinkers.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Will more heavy beer be brewed? OLD

In the later war years the regulations concerning beer – the Beer Orders – were reviewed every three months.

As we’ve already heard, the revision to the Beer Orders in July 1917 introduced the first restriction on gravity. The next set three months later introduced price controls.

"July 1 1917: Statutory output for quarter increased by 33 1/3 per cent. to rate of 15,043,000 standard barrels, half the beer to be brewed at a gravity not exceeding 1036º, 20 per cent. offered to all brewers on those terms, the balance of 13 1/2 per cent. being brewed under special licence for consumption in munition areas.

Oct. 1 1917: Rate and conditions of previous quarter continued but gravity for one-half of the output raised to 1042º. Prices also fixed at 4d. per pint under 1036º, 5d. per pint under 1042º."
"The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101.

The sub 1036º beer was generally referred to as Government Ale. Something which soon became the butt of jokes because of its low strength.

Here was the reaction of the trade to the new regulations:

THE NEW BEER ORDERS
WILL MORE HEAVY BEER BE BREWED?
In view of the coming into operation at the end of the month of the new Beer Order, a meeting of brewers is to be held in Edinburgh to-day, and the retailers in the trade are to consider matters, as they affect them, to-morrow. What will occupy their attention chiefly will be the general question of the price of beer, and the procedure to be adopted regarding the 4d. and 5d. per imperial pint classes. In regard to the matter of any changes in the quality of beer to be brewed, that, it is understood, will not be under consideration at to-day's meeting. That will be left to the individual brewer to deal with as he thinks fit. It has been thought that one result of the Order will be to decrease the amount brewed of beer of a lighter gravity. That, it is stated, is not likely to be the case, not at least to any marked extent, seeing that 20 per cent. increase in production has been allowed the brewers under the Order and as one brewer put it, "Why, when our output has been so restricted of late, should we lose the opportunity of taking full advantage of that concession or allowance." It is a matter that must be left to the individual brewers themselves whether or not they will make more beer of a heavier gravity and less of a lighter and in view of the small margin of profit to be allowed on the lighter beers — the 4d. and 5d. per pint sorts — there may be a tendency to do that in certain quarters. But such a course will certainly not be general, and there is a feeling that the class of beer to be brewed under the new Order will, taking it all over, hot be very different from that now being produced. If the retailers show a preference for heavier beer, in regard to which there is no limitation in price, that may have its influence on the manufacturers, though, of course, there is a limit, fixed by Government, in regard to the production of such beers. Brewers are bound down in that connection.”
The Scotsman - Wednesday 24 October 1917, page 6.

Retailers – publicans, really – were interested in selling non-price controlled beer because they made more profit. One of the problems with the system of price controls was that it only applied to the retail price, not the wholesale price. Publicans complained that the wholesale price demanded by brewers didn’t leave them a sufficient margin to make a living.

Why was the brewer quoted not keen on brewing more stronger beer? Because he wanted to brew as much beer as possible. The general consensus seems to be that nothing was going to change very much. Radical change would happen a few months later in 1918. When things started to get really bad for brewers and drinkers.

UK beer tax and tax yield 1930 - 1939

As promised, some numbers to go with yesterday's post.

I started collecting statistics years ago, long before this blog kicked off. It was a lot of effort for no particular direct return. Longterm, it's a totally different matter. I'm so glad I put the work in because I have most of the numbers I need to hand. Like this set.

A couple of notes. The tax in 1930 and 1934 - 1939 wasn't really 80 shillings a barrel. It was 100/- per standard barrel with a 20/- rebate per bulk barrel. Which meant that the tax was effectively higher the stronger the beer. For example, a barrel of 1027.5º (half standard gravity) would be 50/- minus 20/- making the tax 30/-. While a beer at the standard gravity of 1055º would be 100/- minus 20/- leaving tax of 80/-. You can see that the stronger beer paid more than double the tax of the weaker beer.

The average tax per pint I've calcutated in a very simple way: by dividing the total tax collected by the number of pints brewed.


UK beer tax and tax yield 1930 - 1939
Year Total Tax £ Bulk Barrels Std. Barrels Tax/Std. Brl Av. sg tax pint
1930 71,254,674 25,061,956 19,550,867 80s 1042.9 2.37d
1931 69,269,299 23,900,213 18,488,400 114s 1042.54 2.42d
1932 68,710,020 20,790,812 15,514,209 114s 1041.04 2.75d
1933 67,097,581 17,950,303 12,658,324 114s 1039.52 3.11d
1934 53,884,405 20,182,308 15,043,120 80s 1040.99 2.22d
1935 53,582,335 20,864,814 15,577,836 80s 1041.06 2.14d
1936 55,451,926 21,969,763 16,386,985 80s 1041.02 2.10d
1937 57,318,585 22,724,450 16,985,231 80s 1041.1 2.10d
1938 61,241,404 24,205,631 18,055,539 80s 1041.02 2.11d
1939 62,370,034 24,674,992 18,364,156 80s 1040.93 2.11d
Sources:
1928 Brewers' Almanack
1955 Brewers' Almanack

You can see that Sir Edgar Sanders was correct when he said that the tax on a pint of beer was 3d a pint in 1933. Though the tax yield was even lower that £74,000,000 and didn't even reach £70 million. The amount of tax collected only got back to the level of 1931 in 1940, after extra wartime taxation had been levied.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

The tragedy of Macbeth!

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.I've been reviewing my self-published book sales for 2017. A useful exercise, as it gives me an idea of what you bastards are interested in.

There's a pretty big variation between the different titles. Some sell much better than others. Some don't sell at all. Macbeth! being a good example. Only one copy exists. The one I got for myself.

Which means no-one owns all my books. Because I've given away several personal copies and not replaced them.

This may sound weird, but I don't know how many books I've written. 30-odd, I think. More if you count each edition of Yule Logs!!!!, which is completely different every year.

I'd be interested to see who owns the most of my books. Will it be me?

Comment with your count. There's a special prize for the winner - though I will expect photographic evidence.



Saturday, 6 January 2018

Over-taxed Beer

One of the effects of WW I was to turn beer into a highly-taxed producr. A situation which still endures today.

Obviously, the brewing industry like to complain about the level of taxation. This article is basically one lone whinge. Though, when you compare the taxation on other commodities, he does have a point. And there was a reason beer was picked out for special punishment: temperance bastards. Who still had considerable influence in some political parties.

"OVER-TAXED BEER
"Effort Ought to be Made to Save this Industry"
EFFECTS OF HEAVY DUTY

In April of last year, Mr. Nevllle Chamberlain, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, stated it was his opinion that beer was overtaxed. That statement contained the germ of the whole of the position regarding the beer trade, declared Sir Edgar Sanders, director of the Brewers' Society, when speaking at a luncheon of the Fellowship of Freedom and Reform at the Savoy Hotel, London, yesterday.

The comparison of the taxation on beer before the war and to-day showed that it had increased out of all proportion to any other taxation. While the taxation was 7s. 9d. per standard barrel before the war it was now 114s., nearly 15 times as much.

Compared with other taxation, the increase was stupendous. The tax on tobacco had been increased three times, on cocoa half as much again. Coffee was unchanged. Tea was actually one-fifth less.

The result was reflected in the consumption of these beverages. The consumption of beer had fallen by more than one-half, tobacco had increased by one-half, tea by more than one-third , coffee by one-fifth , and cocoa by two-thirds.

BEER CONSUMERS AND ELECTIONS
The beer consumer-was traditionally without a spokesman, but he had a habit of making himself unpleasant when he had an opportunity at election times of saying that he thought that he had been unjustly treated.

For many years beer had produced nearly one-tenth of the whole of the national revenue. At the same time, sinco 1925 receipts for beer duties had never reached the Budget estimate. Speaking generally, it might be said that for every 3d of beer to-day, 3d. was added for tax , making the price 6d. At the rate at which the beer consumption was falling as the result of penal taxation, it could not on the present scale of duty hold its place as a revenue producer for long.

A real effort ought to be made by Parliament now to save this purely British industry, and to keep alive a remunerative form of taxation rather than wait until it was killed by the burden of the present taxation.

The Chancellor estimated that for the year ending March 31 1933, the total yield in beer duty would be £80,000,000. From official figures already given it was clear that the yield would not be much above £74,000,000. In consequence, the Budget would be thrown out by £6,000,000 on this head alone.

RE-ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL DRINK
If it could be brought home to the public that it was bad national business to tax beer so heavily that its consumption was falling away to such an alarming extent it would be so much easier, for the Chancellor to formulate in the Budget that policy which he evidently wished to pursue. If the Budget contained a bold reduction in the present duties it would be the first step towards the re-establishment of beer as our national drink. Unless an adjustment was made by means of which beer could be reduced by a penny a pint, we were going to hear a great deal of discontent.

Mr Frank Whitbread said, the Government suffered from an unfortunate delusion that the purse of the brewer was obviously bottomless, but the brewer could not continue in the future to carry the retail licensed victualler as he had so often in the past.

The report from the Prison Commissioners, he said, supported the view that our expert criminals were almost invariably teetotallers. Why should the Government desire to give preferential treatment to criminals? Criminals were a rapidly increasing body, while the community of beer drinkers were decreasing. It was clear-that somehow the power of the beer drinker should be increased and that of the criminal should be checked."
The Scotsman - Thursday 16 March 1933, page 13.
 This article was written at an interesting moemt in time, just before the 1933 budget. Where the disastrous tax increase of 1931 was reversed. The tax increase wasn't just disastrous for brewers and drinkers, it was disastrous fron the government, too. Because rather than increasing, the revenue gathered fell.

We'' be looking at the numbers for tax and revenue next.

Let's Brew - 1917 Kidd Stout

Though they didn’t parti-gyle them together, Kidd still had the same basic recipe that they used for their Porter and Stout.

Which doesn’t leave me much to say about the grist. Everything I said about the porter also applies here. Except that the Stout contains no oats.

There is a difference in the hopping. Porter had 2/3rd 1914 Sussex and one third 1916 Farnhams. Stout was 50-50 1916 Kents and 1916 Farnhams. Again, all fresh hops is a sign that this was a posher beer.

Like the Porter, the Stout recipe also contained “Spanish juice”, this time one pound. It works out to 0.03 oz for a brew of this size (5 Imperial, 5 US gallons, 23 litres).


1917 Kidd Stout
pale malt 8.50 lb 58.62%
brown malt 1.00 lb 6.90%
black malt 1.00 lb 6.90%
crystal malt 60 L 1.00 lb 6.90%
caramel 1000 L 1.00 lb 6.90%
No. 4 invert sugar 1.75 lb 12.07%
malt extract 0.25 lb 1.72%
Fuggles 120 mins 2.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 2.50 oz
OG 1063
FG 1019
ABV 5.82
Apparent attenuation 69.84%
IBU 56
SRM 57
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday, 5 January 2018

Kidd beers in mid-1917

1917 must have been a stressful year to be a brewer. Because the rules and restrictions changed several times.

Between 1914 and the end of 1916, beer output had been limited and the beer tax more than trebled, but the beer itself hadn’t changed that much. Until July 1st 1917, when a new regulation came into force stipulating that half the beer a brewery produced had to have a gravity no greater than 1036º.

This new rule had an immediate effect on the gravity of beers, especially the more popular ones. At many breweries a few beers made up a large percentage of sale. For example, in 1917 Whitbread London Stout made up 42% and X Ale 28% of their total output. Though a more typical brewery would have sold mostly Mild Ale and lower-gravity Bitter.

You can see here proof of how little average OG changed before 1917.

UK beer production and average OG 1913 - 1920
Year bulk barrels average OG
1913 36,296,317 1052.64
1914 37,558,767 1052.80
1915 34,765,780 1052.35
1916 32,110,608 1051.88
1917 30,163,998 1048.54
1918 19,085,043 1039.81
1919 23,264,533 1030.55
1920 35,047,947 1039.41
Source:
Brewers' Journal 1921, page 246.

You can see here the effect of the gravity restriction of Kidd’s beers:

Kidd beers in mid-1917
Date Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp
13th Jul 1917 GA X Mild 1033.8 1009.4 3.22 72.13% 9.95 1.43 2.25 2 58º
18th Jul 1917 GA Mild 1033.2 1008.3 3.30 75.00% 9.95 1.42 2.25 2.25 58º
27th Aug 1917 GA Mild 1034.9 1007.8 3.59 77.78% 9.96 1.50 2.25 2 58º
30th Aug 1917 GA Mild 1035.5 1008.3 3.59 76.56% 10.00 1.47 2.25 2 58º
24th Aug 1917 LPA Pale Ale 1037.1 1010.0 3.59 73.13% 9.53 1.54 2.25 58.5º
31st Aug 1917 LPA Pale Ale 1039.3 1011.1 3.74 71.83% 10.04 1.68 2 2 59º
24th Jul 1917 Porter Porter 1034.9 1008.9 3.44 74.60% 10.29 1.55 2.5 58º
28th Aug 1917 Porter Porter 1037.1 1008.3 3.81 77.61% 10.29 1.80 3.25 58º
Source:
Kidd brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/305/16/013.

Sure enough, their most popular beer, X Ale, has dropped below 1036º. The its name was changed to GA (Government Ale) after the first brew. At the same time the range of beer produced has been drastically reduced to just three: Porter, Mild and Bitter.

We’ll be taking a look next at how Kidd’s beers evolved as 1917 and 1918 unfolded.