Sunday, 26 July 2009

Lager boom

Like I said a couple of days ago, I've been revisiting the Whitbread Gravity Book (part two). Just thought I'd share a couple of observations with you.

I'm on the section entitled "Sundry Brewers". It has bottled beers from all over the country. But not just random ones. There are clear patterns. Some pages have nothing but Stouts. Usually sweet Stouts. That it's often noted whether they contain lactose, sort of gives the game away. Why were Whitbread so interested in sweet Stouts? Because a big part of their business was Mackeson. They were keeping an eye on the competition.

Something interesting happens around 1960. Suddenly there are pages full of Lagers. Imported Lagers, big brands like Barclays, Skol and Black Label. That's no surprise. But then there are things like Lacon's Lager, Hall & Woodhouse Brock Lager, Tolly Cobbold Kroner Lager, Eldridge Pope's König Pilsener Lager.

This tells me a couple of things. Firstly, that Whitbread were getting interested in the Lager market. Secondly, that many quite small regional breweries were making Lagers. It's the start of the lager boom. I wonder when it will end?


Mike said...

Greenhall Whitley had Grunhalle (the u had an umlaut for authenticity) lager in the '70's.

Tandleman said...

Lees had Tulip then and still brew their own lager - Golden Original - as well as Carlsberg and Holsten.

Holts till brew two - Crystal and Diamond, but have dropped the palindromic Regal. Robinsons until not all that long ago had Einhorn.

Tony Allen at Phoenix does Pilsner Irwell too from time to time. Not relevant really, but there yiu are.

Matt said...

I remember Robinsons Einhorn. Holts before they brewed Crystal and Diamond - both truly awful btw - had one called Holtenbrau, don't know if they sprinkled it with umlauts for extra German authenticity.

Tandleman said...

I'd forgotten about Holtenbrau.

Ron Pattinson said...

How many breweries still brew their own Lager?

No-one's really looked at these beers seriously, have they? Piecing together the story of British Lager is quite fun.

Barm said...

Tennent's ;)

Sam Smith's, of course, in keeping with their Marks & Spencer-style own-brand everything policy.

Belhaven brewed a "Scottish Lager", which had been renamed or replaced by their "Pilsener" the last time I looked.

McEwan's notoriously awful lager has been re-launched recently. Even before that, interestingly enough, there were jakey pubs in Glasgow still selling something from the old McEwan's Lager fonts. Either S&N kept brewing it all along, or the old-time pubs just kept ordering it and at the S&N distribution centre they'd slap a McEwan's label on a keg of Foster's and send it out.