Monday, 14 December 2009

Whitbread beer production by type 1915 - 1927

I told you there would be more. Time for part II of Whitbread beer production by type.

This is where things get exciting. WW I. You must be able to remember the dramatic effect it had on British beer. I've told you often enough. 1917 and 1918 were the end of the line for almost half of Whitbread's products. KKK, 2KKK, 2PA, FA, SS and SSS were never brewed again.

At the end of the war, Whitbread's range had been stripped to the bones. Just MA, PA, IPA, Porter and London Stout. This paring down seemed to have a permanent effect. Some of them contradictory.

Stock Ales were the big winner. In 1914, they accounted for just over 1% of output and looked on their way to extinction. By 1927 that had risen to 10%. Strange, because, in general, it was stronger beers that were going out of fashion.

The discontinuation of other PA's (2PA and FA) seemed to give standard PA, which had been a marginal product with dwindling sales, a boost. It shout up from below 1% to 12.5%.

IPA, already on the up before the war, continued its rise. Doubtless the increased popularity of bottled beer helped. IPA didn't appear on draught. In 1927 it became Whitbread's best-seller, overtaking X.

X continued its gradual decline, but was still one of Whitbread's most popular beers and rtheir best-selling draught by quite a margin.

Porter and Stout. Here's where the numbers are a bit confusing. It looks as if Porter's popularity collapsed in 1917, with its share dropping from 10% to less than 2%. But it's not quite as simple as that. During the war, Porter and LS (London Stout) were identical in all but name. Whitbread were marketing their Porter as Stout. Presumably as it commanded a higher price. (A lot of this went on in WW I, selling Porter as Stout.) Though it does seem to have permamently damaged the market for their Porter.

The two strongest Stouts, SS and SSS disappeared for ever. Whitbread never brewed a strong Stout again. Very sad.

You can guess what's coming. Prepare yourself for yet more of this stuff.

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