Sunday, 19 June 2011

Beer output by UK region in 1849

Hooray! Today's the last part of my rambling series about the geographical distribution of brewing in 1849.

It's hard to imagine now the dominance of London brewers in the early part of the 19th century. As you can see in the table below, more than a fifth of the UK's beer came from London. More than three times as much beer was brewed in Britain's capital than in Ireland and Scotland combined.

Of course, this is just a snapshot. The situation changes significantly as the century progresses. With other brewing centres such as Burton and Dublin rivalling London in size. When Bass in Burton and Guinness in Dublin went past the 1 million barrel mark, the days of London's supremacy were over. Its went into a long, slow decline that only ended a couple of years ago.

You may have noticed that I've separated out Wales from England. While its beer output lagged a quite bit behind England's relative to population,it was way ahead of Scotland and Ireland. See, I can understand why Ireland would do poorly in such a comparison. It was the least developed part of the UK. But Scotland and Wales had industrialised. Why were their beer industries doing so relatively badly?

The relative contribution of Ireland and Scotland increased during the second half of the 19th century. I'm started to assemble some figures to demonstrate this change. I'll publish them as soon as I've finished, but it may take a while.

UK beer output and population, year ending October 1849
output (barrels) % of output population in 1851 % population barrels per head of population
London 3,144,954 21.50% 2,362,200 8.63% 1.33
England 13,223,059 90.40% 16,769,400 61.26% 0.79
Wales 365,299 2.50% 1,163,000 4.25% 0.31
Scotland 435,792.5 2.98% 2,889,000 10.55% 0.15
Ireland 602,437.5 4.12% 6,554,000 23.94% 0.09
total 14,626,587 100.00% 27,375,400 100.00% 0.53
actual beer output 14,691,734
Sources:



"Statistics of British commerce" by Braithwaite Poole, 1852, pages 5 and 6.
http://www.populstat.info/

7 comments:

Ed Carson said...

"But Scotland and Wales had industrialised. Why were their beer industries doing so relatively badly?" Maybe because they were colonies. Perhaps not in law, but in fact they were places where Celtic savages grew barley, raised sheep, and mined coal for landowners who were appointed and anointed by The Crown and Parliament.

Matt said...

Northern England, the Midlands and Ireland were places where people "grew barley, raised sheep, and mined coal for landowners" which produced plenty of beer.

Scotland and Wales as colonies doesn't really reflect reality given there was no bar on native products developing to compete with ones imported from England as there was in India for example.

I think the reasons Scotland and Wales didn't produce as much beer as England were whisky and religion.

Barm said...

Is Ed serious? The industrial revolution started in Scotland.

Rod said...

Ed - your "theory" is wrong on so many levels it's difficult to know where to start, but, for the sake of clarity, perhaps you could explain the process by which 19th century capitalists were appointed by Parliament, and quantify the differences in the conditions of the urban proletariat and rural workers in England, Scotland and Wales in the mid-Victorian period?

Rod said...

Reading that back I realise there is an ambiguity in what I wrote.
Ed -
Please could you explain what was different about the living and working conditions of the working class in England, compared to Scotland and Wales?

Ed Carson said...

Rod,I'm glad you put theory in quotes because whiat I wrote doesn't even rise to idea of a hypothesis. But:
1)I did not write capitalists; I wrote landowners. You know those people or their descendants (by 1849. the subject of Mr Pattinson's charts) who were given land often seized by miltary force and given a name like the "Count of Basie" or the "Duke of Ellington." Those people who were busy exporting grain, beef and other foodstuffs(probably beer too) from Ireland to England while their tenants were dying or emigrating to North America, Glasgow,Liverpool, London and (voluntarily or involuntarily)Australia.
2)Could I quantify differences? No.
Barm, I know Mr Watt was a Scot and he began his work on improving Mr Newcomen's(a Devonshireman) engine there, but he and his workmen did most of the work in Birmingham. So I would say it started in Birmingham.
Matt, Would you say Whiskey(more value-added than beer) and Religion in Scotland, and Religion only in Wales?

Rod said...

Ed -
"I'm glad you put theory in quotes because whiat I wrote doesn't even rise to idea of a hypothesis"
I'm glad you said that.

"I did not write capitalists; I wrote landowners."
I know that, but,you see, it was, overwhelmingly, capitalists, rather than the traditional landed aristocracy, who were brewing beer in the mid-Victorian period. The people owning and running breweries were not appointed by Parliament.

"You know those people or their descendants (by 1849. the subject of Mr Pattinson's charts) who were given land often seized by miltary force and given a name like the "Count of Basie" or the "Duke of Ellington."
I think you're referring to the Highland Clearances, which forced people off the land and into the cities- the Enclosures Act did much the same thing in England, so how does this create a difference in beer output between Scotland and England? Also, is it not more likely that people living in urban areas are more likely to have access to pubs etc than people living in isolated rural areas?

"Those people who were busy exporting grain, beef and other foodstuffs(probably beer too) from Ireland to England while their tenants were dying or emigrating"
This would be the Irish Potato Famine, but Ireland was actually producing a lot of beer. We were trying to figure out why Scotland and Wales had such low output. The fact that Irish beer output was high, in the face of absentee landlords, actually disproves your argument.

"Could I quantify differences? No."
The Irish were probably the poorest overall, and Ireland the least industrialised, but Ireland was producing lots of beer.