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25-04-2014, 08:13
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I found this interesting text in a guide to London published to coincide with the Great Exhibition of 1851.

It discusses the effect of the 1830 Beer Act in the brewing trade in London. Particularly the impact that it had on Ale brewing in the capital.


"We have already stated that until lately London was only famous for its porter and stout. The release of the beer trade in 1830 from the shackles of the excise first gave an impetus to the ale trade, and soon raised it into importance. Before that time beer as well as spirits was only sold in houses licensed by the magistracy. The new Beer Bill, by allowing it to be sold under an excise licence only, opened the trade to a new class of dealers, who at once took up the ale trade, and were the immediate cause of the success of several new breweries which at first devoted themselves to the production of a class of malt liquors to compete with the old-fashioned porter and stout of the old-established porter brewers. The effect of this competition was so striking, that nearly all the porter brewers soon became ale brewers also, and the new ale brewers became also porter brewers, so that by referring to the list we shall introduce hereafter, it will be seen, that whilst the old brewers have rapidly extended their trade from 370,000 quarters in 1830, to 500,000 quarters in 1850, or 33 per cent., the six new breweries have risen in the same time, from 57,000 quarters in 1830, to 110,000 quarters in 1850. But for the wise alteration of the law in 1830, this enormous increase of trade must have been monopolized by the first houses, the public would neither have had such cheap nor such good beer, and the retail trade would have been confined now, as it then was, to licensed public-houses, nine out of every ten of which either belong to, or are under the control of, the large porter brewers. It is quite a different state of things with the best beer retailers, who buy their beer where they can get it the best and the cheapest, and whose business, confined as it is to the sale of beer, can only be retained, as in all other trades, by the supply of the best and cheapest article.

The rapidity with which two or three of the new breweries have risen is one of the evidences of the facility with which capital is found in this country for every enterprise which shows a fair prospect of realizing a profit; though rapidly as these have extended their operations, it hardly equals that of their older rivals, for it is scarcely 70 years since that the vast establishment of Messrs. Barclay, Perkins, and Co., now employing a million and a half of capital, was bought of the executors of Thrale, the friend of Johnson, for the sum of £135,000, Mr. Perkins having been previously to that time the manager of the brewery at a salary of £500 per annum. The rise of Messrs. Truman and Co. has been equally wonderful. We will close this account of the London breweries, almost national establishments from their vastness, by a table showing the quantity of malt used in the fifteen largest houses in each of the three years, 1830-1, 1840-1, 1849-50.




1830-1
1840-1
1849-50


Barclay and Co.
97,198
106,345
115,542


Truman and Co.
50,724
88,132
105,022


Whitbread and Co.
49,713
51,482
51,800


Reid and Co.
43,380
47,960
56,640


Coombe and Co.
34,684
36,460
43,282


Calvert and Co.
30,525
30,615
28,630


Meux and Co.
24,339
39,583
59,617


Hoare and Co.
24,102
29,450
35,000


Elliott and Co.
19,444
25,275
29,558


Taylor
21,845
27,300
15,870


Goding
16,307
14,631
13,064


Charrington
10,531
18,328
21,016


Courage
8,116
11,532
14,469


Thorne
1,445
20,846
22,022


Mann
1,302
11,654
24,030


Total
433,655
559,613
635,562




We believe we may state that most of these establishments will be open to the inspection of respectable foreigners during the period of the Exhibition. We are sure they will find them well worthy of their attention, and will amply repay the time and trouble required to visit them."
"London exhibited in 1851", edited by John Weale, 1851, pages 272-273.Allowing beer-only pubs to be licensed outside the control of the magistrates - and making the granting of these licences automatic if certain basic conditions were met - had a huge effect. The idea had been to establish a free trade in beer and, to some extent, this was what happened. Thousands of beer houses opened forming a new competition for the established fully-licensed houses.

I'm intrigued by the claim that 90% of the fully-licensed houses had been tied to Porter brewers. I thought it was only at the end of the century that the majority of pubs became tied. I do know that before 1830, Porter brewers only tied their pubs for Porter and Stout. Logical enough as most of them didn't brew Ale. In the 1830's Truman, Whitbread and Barclay Perkins all began brewing Ale. And tying their pubs for Ale, too.

The first nine breweries in the table were all Porter breweries. The rest, apart from Courage, were Ale brewers. To get a rough estimate of the number of barrels they brewed multiply the number of quarters by four. Charrington's production doubled between 1830 and 1850, but it's Mann that showed the biggest increase in output.

Mann continued to make up ground over the rest of the 19th century and by the eve of WW I had overtaken all of the Porter breweries save for Whitbread:



Output of large London breweries (barrels)


Year
Barclay Perkins
Whitbread
Truman
Mann


1850
397,360
177,555
388,475
97,802


1860
421,286
242,848
457,796
128,179


1870
410,710
225,600
509,447
217,575


1880

249,744
456,393
231,942


1890
522,645
357,878
453,336
293,845


1900
589,201
693,706
505,341
500,029


1901
573,302
726,622
480,552
557,403


1910
500,205
800,011
365,520
590,608


1913
587,547
850,756
441,858
611,704


Sources:


"The British Brewing Industry, 1830-1980" T. R. Gourvish & R.G. Wilson, pages 610-611.


Document ACC/2305/1/711/1 held at the London Metropolitan Archives



Now wasn't that instructive?





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