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I bet that title has dragged in loads of casual readers. They're in for a special treat. 19th-century statistics.

Did I mention that I have a thing about the Austro-Hungarian Empire? I find it bizarrely fascinating. Not sure why. Maybe it's reading about Emperor Jozef II in history lessons. But I'm not here to bore you with tales from school. I'm here to bore you with ancient statistics.

Obtaining meaningful statistics spanning a century or so is pretty tricky in central Europe, where the borders have moved a few times. And countries have come and gone. You can just about put together some modern countries from the numbers below. The Czech Republic, for example, is Böhmen and Mahren (Bohemia and Moravia). Modern Austria is approximately Niederösterreich, Oberösterreich, Salzburg, Steiermark, Kärnthen and Tirol und Vorarlberg. Though part of Tirol is now in Italy.

Now I've come up with enough bullshit for there to be room for a nice beer label, we can get on with looking at the numbers. In particular, I'll be mentioning a point I touched on recently: where was the first industrialised Austrian brewing? I would have got it wrong, had I guessed.

Here's the table:

Austrian beer production and no. breweries in 1865 Kronländer no. breweries output (Austrian eimer) output (hl) beer tax (Austrian guilders) average output per brewery (hl) Niederösterreich 127 2,864,015 1,621,183 3,780,114 12,765.22 Oberösterreich 286 958,256 542,423 1,096,879 1,896.58 Salzburg 76 315,144 178,388 364,642 2,347.21 Böhmen 1028 5,416,962 3,066,284 6,092,531 2,982.77 Mähren 281 1,233,405 698,172 1,370,688 2,484.60 Schlesien 80 283,742 160,613 326,463 2,007.66 Ostgalizien 189 456,593 258,456 433,841 1,367.49 Westgalizien 124 276,853 156,713 267,184 1,263.82 Bukowina 20 48,681 27,556 43,714 1,377.80 Steiermark 125 547,500 309,914 710,467 2,479.31 Kärnthen 203 148,954 84,316 167,990 415.35 Krain 23 45,732 25,887 55,366 1,125.51 Küstenland 2 1,016 575 1,218 287.55 Tirol und Vorarlberg 143 291,843 165,198 332,282 1,155.23 Ungarn und Serbien 286 846,383 479,097 854,114 1,675.16 Croatien und Slavonien 27 45,522 25,768 44,706 954.36 Militärgrenze 34 52,040 29,457 50,403 866.39 Siebenbürgen 84 110,576 62,592 106,316 745.14 Total 1865 3,138 13,943,217 7,892,591 16,098,918 2,122.06 Source:

“Bericht über der Welt_Ausstellung zu Paris im Jahre 1867, volume 7”, 1868, page 125.
Take a look at the production by brewery column. You'll see, I'm sure, that one region was way ahead of the others: Niederösterreich. In particular Vienna. 1,388,257hl of the Niederösterreich total was brewed in Vienna.

What would I have guessed as the region with the largest breweries? Bohemia, of course. That being the first part of the Austrian Empire to industrialise. And being reasonably well known for a certain type of pale lager.

But think about it more deeply and it's not such a surprise. Vienna was a large and comparatively wealthy city, capital of a large empire. And it was Dreher's brewery in Vienna, not Bürgerbräu in Pilsen, that kick started the modernisation of the Austrian brewing industry. The 22 breweries in Vienna produced on average 63,102 hl. Massively more than the average of around 2,000 hl. Dreher's brewery at Kleinschwechat was the largest in the country, producing 230,995 hl in 1865. The second largest Liesing, also in Vienna, churned out just 155,778.

That's it. For the moment. But you never know when I might get an Austro-Hungarian urge again.