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21-04-2015, 08:55
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Just a few more tables and I’m done. All posted out in advance for the whole of my US trip, plus a day to recover when I get back.

This time there are some numbers to demonstrate how hard the years immediately after WW II were. Because what works better than numbers? Especially when you’ve used up all the day’s supply of words. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an infinite quantity of them. I often stop mid-sentence in the evening when they’re all used up.

The numbers show the remarkable success of British brewing during WW II. Output rose. Surprisingly both in terms of bulk and standard barrels. That the latter rose, means it was a genuine rise, because the standard barrel takes gravity out of the equation. But note the sharp drop in 1947 – 3.3 million standard barrels. The result, as we’ve already heard, of shortages in raw materials, which prompted the government to lower production quotas.

Keeping average gravity at a little under 1035º for the final years of the war was quite an achievement. Only possible because of a massive increase in British-grown barley during the war. But in 1947 average OG fell more than two points. It must have been depressing for both brewers and drinkers.



Home-made Beer : Quantities charged with duty, Average Gravities and Net Receipts


Year (ended 81st March)
Quantities charged with duty

Net quantities duty-paid




Bulk Barrels
Standard Barrels
Average Gravity
Bulk Barrels
Standard Barrels
Net Receipts £


1939
24,674,992
18,364,156
1,040.93
24,187,883
17,935,568
62,370,034


1940
25,366,782
18,738,619
1,040.62
25,092,090
18,495,567
75,157,022


1941
26,203,803
18,351,113
1,038.51
25,773,766
18,121,618
133,450,205


1942
29,860,796
19,294,605
1,035.53
29,351,341
19,018,940
157,254,430


1943
29,296,672
18,293,919
1,034.34
28,971,014
18,044,678
209,584,343


1944
30,478,289
19,193,773
1,034.63
30,129,031
18,945,565
263,170,703


1945
31,332,852
19,678,449
1,034.54
31,031,814
19,475,061
278,876,870


1946
32,650,200
20,612,225
1,034.72
32,698,011
20,580,907
295,305,369


1947
29,261,398
17,343,690
1,032.59
29,226,070
17,427,961
250,350,829


1948
30,408,634
18,061,390
1,032.66
30,007,139
17,744,616
264,112,043


1949
26,990,144
16,409,937
1,033.43
27,048,281
16,319,126
294,678,035


Source:


Brewing Trade Review, 1950, page 51.





Home-made Beer : Quantities of Materials used and of Beer produced


Year (ended with Sept.)
Malt
Unmalted Corn
Rice, Rice Grits, Flaked Rice, Maize Grits, Flaked Maize and other similar Preparations
Sugar including its Equivalent of Syrups, Glucose and Saccharum
Hops
Preparations of Hops
Hop Substitutes
Beer Produced



Cwt.
Cwt.
Cwt.
Cwt.
Cwt.
Cwt.
Cwt.
Bulk Barrels


1939
9,884,803
9,910
734,771
1,986,478
285,715
113
13
25,691,217


1940
9,857,838
7,912
363,588
1,532,776
265,512
132
108
24,925,704


1941
10,988,413
11,897
246,757
1,397,642
251,354
186
166
28,170,582


1942
10,918,102
52,646
382,207
1,411,422
223,007
246
71
29,584,656


1943
10,287,322
40,592
1,238,181
1,400,573
231,589
250
96
29,811,321


1944
10,621,168
143,183
1,241,121
1,458,647
243,900
277
137
31,180,684


1945
10,435,212
245,751
1,332,032
1,784,064
244,822
714
139
31,990,344


1946
9,976,998
137,750
1,132,748
1,790,021
226,197
1,414
168
31,066,950


1947
9,454,253
92,974
614,335
1,601,186
217,759
1,423
191
30,103,180


1948
9,499,294
69,939
606,881
1,443,558
231,470
630
547
28,813,725


Source:


Brewing Trade Review, 1950, page 51.



Looking at the second table, we can see that malt usage peaked in 1941, after which considerable amounts of unmalted grain and maize products were used. Only to fall back again after 1946. Sugar shows a complicated trajectory, its use falling in the early war years, increasing at the end, then dropping again post-war.

All those changes would have had an impact on brewers’ grists. One over which they had no control. Given reliable supplies, the raw materials used wouldn’t have changed anything like as much. Each of those sudden changes in materials would have presented considerable challenges for brewers. How depressing must it have been for that still to be going on several years after the end of hostilities?

I’m sure that I’ll have plenty more austerity tales to come.

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