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03-08-2018, 09:41
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We saw last time that between 1889 and 1891 beer consumption was around 30 million standard barrels per year. But how does that comapare to today?

Well, not exactly today, because I don't have those figures. But I do have 2014 - 2016. Unfortunately, the basis for them isn't the same as in 1889-1891, as they are bulk not standard barrels. Which has both an upside and a downside.

The upside is that it means, with a bit of fiddling, we can take the strength of the beer out of the equation and get an idea of the quantuity of alcohol being consumed. All I need to do is to convert bulk barrels into standard ones.

Assuming that average OG is still around 1037º, one modern bulk barrel equals about two-thirds of a standard barrel at 1055º. so it's pretty easy to clculate the number of standard barrels.

Even without that conversion, it's clear that far less beer is being drunk currently than in the 1890s. In terms of bulk barrels, consumption is around 26.75 million barrels. While in 1890 and 1891 it was over 31 million standard barrels.



UK beer 2014 - 2016 (bulk barrels)



2014
2015
2016


production
25,177,201
25,217,529
23,270,763


consumption
26,734,125
26,740,236
26,721,293


exports
3,202,999
3,452,119
3,650,645


Source:


"Statistical Handbook of the the British Beer and Pub Association 2017", page 18.



Converted to standard barrels, modern consumption is about 10 million barrels less than that.



UK beer 2014 - 2016 (standard barrels)



2014
2015
2016


production
16,784,801
16,811,686
15,513,842


consumption
17,822,750
17,826,824
17,814,196


exports
2,135,333
2,301,413
2,433,764


Source:





"Statistical Handbook of the the British Beer and Pub Association 2017", page 18.



Here are the 1889 - 1891 figures again. The one big positive change is the amount of beer exports, which are five times what they were.



UK beer 1889 - 1891 (standard barrels)



1889
1890
1891


production
30,402,298
31,847,574
32,236,970


consumption
29,823,773
31,248,798
31,667,268


exports
578,525
598,776
569,702


Source:


"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 41.



Consumption, in terms of standard isn't much more than half of what it was in the early 1890s. But when you take the difference in population into account, the fall is much greater. In 1891 the population of the UK was 37,802,381. Currently, it's around 66 million. Meaning beer consumption now isn't much more than a quarter of what it was in the early 1890s. Pretty scary.





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