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18-03-2014, 07:29
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I'm not quite sure why only Benskins Bitter appears in this section of the Gravity Book. Bit strange. Still, I'm not complaining. Better than nothing.

Benskins, of course, were best known for their legendary Colne Spring Ale, an extremely strong beer that underwent extended ageing. Sadly, after Benskins was bought by Ind Coope in 1957 the production method was changed and the strength reduced.

Benskins, located in Watford just to the North of London, became a limited company in 1898, though they seemed to have struggled in the early years:


"Benskin's Brewery.
A final dividend 12.5 per cent., and making with the interim 15 per cent, for the year ended September 30 last, has already been announced by Benskin's Watford Brewery, Ltd., on the Ordinary share capital. The dividend goes 12.5 per cent. for the previous twelve months. The report is now available, and shows that the net profit increased from £104,572 to £110,392. The company has made particular headway during recent years, for between 1905 and 1921 no dividend was paid on the Ordinary share capital of £304,000. A proposal will be placed before the shareholders at the annual meeting that the directors' remuneration shall be increased from £200 per annum each to £400 per annum each, free of tax. It is pointed out that the company was formed in 1898, and the director's fee has remained at the original £200 per year ever since."
Western Morning News - Wednesday 09 December 1925, page 7.Usually the ordinary shares were mostly held by the directors and their families. It sounds like they hadn't been earning a great deal from the business.

It's amazing what you can piece together from the newspaper archives. Things like this:



Benskin profits 1921 - 1929



net profit
carry forward
to reserve
divdend ordinary shares
divdend preference shares


1921
£88,519
£36,519
£25,000
0%
10


1922
£58,633


5%



1923
£68,838
£26,990

7.5%



1924
£104,572
£34,603
£25,000
12.5%



1925
£110,392
£39,354

15%



1926
£124,000
£41,631
£25,000
18.75%



1927
£140,342


20%



1928
£141,004
£55,777

22.25%



1929
£145,933


25%



Sources:


Dundee Courier - Friday 09 December 1921, page 2.


Dundee Courier - Wednesday 06 December 1922, page 2.


Aberdeen Journal - Thursday 06 December 1923, page 11.


Dundee Courier - Thursday 06 December 1923, page 2.


Dundee Courier - Saturday 15 November 1924, page 2.


Aberdeen Journal - Thursday 04 December 1924, page 11.


Western Morning News - Wednesday 09 December 1925, page 7.


Aberdeen Journal - Tuesday 07 December 1926, page 11.


Dundee Courier - Tuesday 06 December 1927, page 2.


Dundee Courier - Saturday 24 November 1928, page 2.


Dundee Courier - Wednesday 11 December 1929, page 2.


Note:


1926 net profit figure apporximate, calculated from other figures.



Things ccertainly picked up in the 1920's for Benskins. Profits and the dividend on the ordinary shares increased every year from 1922 to 1929. They seem to have really prospered.

You can see that this is one of the 9d Best Bitter types. In terms of specs, it looks very similar to the Burtons. Not surprising PA should have a similar gravity, as it sold dor the same price.

Was beer quality the reasons Benskins did so well? Not on this evidence:



Benskin Pale Ale quality 1922 - 1925


Year
Beer
FG
OG
ABV
App. Atten-uation
Appearance
Flavour
score
Price


1922
PA
1008.2
1053.7
5.95
84.73%
bright
poor
-1
9d


1922
PA
1007
1053
6.02
86.79%
hazy
unpleasant
-3
9d


1922
PA
1008.4
1055.6
6.17
84.89%
hazy
nasty flavour
-3
9d


1922
PA
1012.2
1053.7
5.40
77.28%
rather grey
v good
3
9d


1923
PA
1010
1053.5
5.67
81.31%
piecey
fair
1
9d


1923
PA
1012.4
1053.9
5.40
76.99%
brilliant
bitter after flavour
-1
9d


1923
PA
1011.2
1053.7
5.54
79.14%
hazy
too new
-1
9d


1923
PA
1010.4
1052.4
5.47
80.15%
bright
good
2
8d


1925
PA
1010.8
1053.3
5.54
79.74%
fairly bright
v good
3
9d


Average
1010.1
1053.6
5.68
81.23%


0.00



Source:


Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001



A pathteic three of nine were bright. A couiple - "rather grey" and "piecey" - sound pretty bad. Not much better with the flavour, where there are just four postive scores. And two that sound pretty horrible. On the other hand, there are two excellent ones. Iverall the good and bad cancel each other out and leave an average score of zero.

Bitter in Benskins pub sound like Russian roulette, you might be lucky and play on or you might paint the walls with your brains. I think I'll be looking elsewhere for refreshment.



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