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Continuing our look at cellar practices in the early 1920s, here's something that took me by surprise: tank beer.

I was quite shocked that it was enough of a thing in 1922 to even get a mention. Usually the start of brewery conditioned draught beer is attributed to Watney's in the 1930s. While that might have been the first keg beer produced in the UK, it was by no means the first brewery-conditioned draught.

Brewery conditioned beer had been around since the 1890s, but exclusively in bottled form. UK brewers picked up the technique of producing what they called chilled and carbonated beer from their American colleagues. This new type of non-deposit beer was a big hit and was vital to the sudden growth in bottled beer around 1900.

In his autobigraphy, "Seventy Rolling Years" Sydney Nevile mentions Worthington's attempts to introduce brewery-conditioned draught beer before WW I. These ended in failure, due to resistance from drinkers. They weren't keen on the flavour of this new type of beer and Worthington was forced to abandon the experiment.

But that clearly wasn't the end of alternatives to cask-conditioned beer.

"In London and some of the large towns beer is supplied through a tube, or hose, from a tank cart or motor into a receiver. This beer is suitable only for a quick sale, say forty-eight hours,1 and is ready to sell at once, is always bright and clear to the last drop, and has no deposit.

Thus the paraphernalia connected with barrels, and the care requisite in the treatment of beer in barrels, are avoided.

This beer is known as carbonated ale, and no waste ought to occur.

Beer so brewed is as good on the day it is received as it will ever be, and, no doubt, saves a great deal of labour, anxiety, and care, but these chilled and filtered beers, both in cask and bottle, have not the keeping qualities of beer naturally conditioned.

They are, however, so much limited to a few areas, that we must learn also all about the treatment of beers in cask.

1 Forty-eight hours is not to be taken as the limit of time of the keeping of carbonated ale, but it is brewed for quick consumption."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, pages 198 - 199.
Reading between the lines, it's clear that the author wasn't a fan of tank beer.

The only brewery I can think of that was big on tanl beer WW II was the Hull Brewery. WHo were very early in going over to ceramic cellar tanks in its pubs. Their beer caused some fairly heated discussions within CAMRA as to whether it counted as Real Ale or not.

Martyn Cornell identifies Watney as the first brewery in the UK to use cellar tanks, starting in 1913. Followed in the early 1920s by Charrington and the Hull brewery.