Monday, 17 September 2012

The Bayerische Lager Beer Brewery

I've not finished kicking the Lager dog yet. Look, I'm not going to waste all the stuff I dug up researching my Glasgow Beer Week talk. I hate waste almost as much as I hate work.

I've another prospectus for you. Another wildly optimistic one. Reading, it looks as if investors couldn't fail to make a fortune. The brewery only lasted seven years, going tits up in 1888.

APPLICATIONS for SHARES, accompanied by cheques, are to be forwarded to the London and County Bank, Lombard-street, E.C.
In answer to numerous inquiries, APPLICATION will be made as soon as practicable for an OFFICIAL QUOTATION and SETTLEMENT on the STOCK EXCHANGE.
The "Medical Press," Sept. 7, 1881, says:— "The vast majority of moderate drinkers who, for want of a better substitute, are driven to imbibe the poisonous mixtures in the taverns of this country. That which would best of all be suited to replace these miserable drinks is the light refreshing beverage known as Lager Beer.
Capital £100,000, divided into 15,000 Eight per Cent. Preference Shares of £5 each (with further participation in profits), and 5000 fully paid-up Deferred Shares of £5 each, the Vendor accepting in part payment the latter, which rank for Dividend only after eight per cent, in each year has been first paid on the Preference Shares ; such Preference Shares being also further eutitled to one half of all surplus dividends over and above eight per cent, on both classes of Shares.

ISSUE of 15,000 EIGHT PER CENT. PREFERENCE SHARESS of £5 EACH, PAYABLE as FOLLOWS: £1 on Application and £2 on Allotment. No further calls for one year certain, after which the balance in calls of (10s.) ten shillings each only, but always subject to three months' notice thereof.

CHAIRMAN-The Right Hon. the Lord CHURSTON, Lupton, Brixham, Devon.
George T. Ongley, Esq. (Messrs. Ongley and Thornton), Hop Factors, High-street, Borough, E.C,, and Avondale, Eltham, Kent.
Harley Bacon, Esq., 13. Stanhope-place, Hyde Park, W., and 49, Finsbury-pavement. E.C.
W. Jalland Smith, Esq., Director Charles S. Campbell and Co. (Limited), Sherry Shippers, Port St. Mary, and 47, Mark- lane, E.C.
Henry Bourne, Esq., Rosemont, Meadvale, Redhill, Surrey.
(With power to add to their number.)

Bankers.— The London and County Bank, Lombard-street, E.C., and Greenwich Branch.
Solicitors.— Messrs. Sorrell and Son, 63, Great Tower-street, E.C.
Auditors. —Messrs. Wing. Wing, Lescher, and Co., 1, Princess- street, Bank, EC., and Sheffield.
Broker.— Henry Frisby, Esq., 17, Tokenhouse-yard, London, E.G., and Stock Exchange.
Secretary.— Lorenzo Alexander, Esq.
Temporary Offices— Mansion House Chambers, Queen Victoria- street, E.C. (entrance, 13, Sise-lane).

The exceptionally large profit made on lager Beer, as compared with the handsome profit on English beer, is chiefly owing to the fact that Lager Beer in brewed at a much lower gravity, thereby causing a great saving in the cost of material.
Forms of Application for Shares can be obtained at the Bankers, the Solicitors, the Brokers, and at the Offices of the Company."
London Standard - Thursday 22 September 1881, page ?

Were moderate drinkers really just waiting for lovely, safe, barely-intoxicating Lager to drink? I think the evidence (in the form of the company's baknruptcy) says not. Was it brewed to that much lowere a gravity than British beer? It depends which beer you're talking about. A light Bitter wouldn't have had a gravity higher than 1050º.

here are a couple of Light Bitters of the period to demonstrate my point:

Light Bitters in the 1880's
Date Year Brewer Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
16th Nov 1881 Whitbread FA Pale Ale 1050.7 1006.9 5.79 86.34% 13.27 3.28
21st Apr 1887 Fullers AK Pale Ale 1049.6 1014.1 4.69 71.51% 7.6121 1.66
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/047
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery.

In 1888, Tennent's Lager had a gravity of around 1056º (source: document number T/6/1/1/5 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.). Doesn't look lower gravity than a Light Bitter to me.

£100,000 sounds like a lot of money to have raised, but they needed to equip a brewery. The brewery the bought, the Eltham Brewery in Kent, wouldn't have had the right kit to brew Lager. And much of the equipment would need to be imported. My guess is that would have eaten away most of the 100 grand.

1 comment:

Martyn Cornell said...

I'm fairly sure the Bayerische Lager Beer Brewery never actually brewed: I've never found any evidence to say definitely that it did, and the ONLY references to it in newspapers appear to be for that attempted flotation in the autumn of 1881. The prospectus printed in The Times for the brewery in September 1881 said it had "provisionally secured" as brewer Richard Deeley, son of the former head brewer at Mann, Crossman and Paulin, one of London's leading ale brewers, and "now engaged at one of the largest American lager brewers". Investors were promised an "exceptionally large profit on Lager Beer, as compared with the handsome profit on English beer", "chiefly owing to the fact that Lager beer is brewed at a much lower gravity, thereby causing a greater saving in the cost of material." It reckoned it could produce lager beer that would "favourably compare with the choicest productions of the continent" for just 40 shillings a barrels, which could be retailed at 60 shillings a barrel, dramatically undercutting the imported product.