The quantities involved were still tiny. In 1870 only 5,000 barrels of beer were imported into Britain. (Source: Brewers' Almanack 1928, p. 115.) It was still very much a novelty. an expensive drink, consumed by the better off.
"ANTON DREHER'S VIENNA BEER,Conveyed to England in Ice Safes especially constructed for this purpose.MAY BE HAD IN KILDERKINS OF 18 GALLONS. AND IN BOTTLES.DIRECT FROM THE GREAT VIENNESE BREWERY.J. A. GITTENS & CO.,AGENTS12, THE HARD, PORTSEA.THIS enormous Continental Factory of Drink, this Head Quarters of Brewage, the rival of Bass, the competiter of Allsopp, the equal even of Barclay and Perkins, the Continental parallel of Truman, Hanbury, and Co.. was commenced in a small way in 1632.-Illustrated Times.
Anyone who visited the Paris Exhibition in 1867 must have been struck with the immense popularity of the Austrian Beer. - Medical Times."
Hampshire Telegraph - Saturday 14 May 1870, page 8.
Initially, Dreher seems to have dominated the British Lager market. Hardly surprising, as his brewery was the largest on the continent. To say it was the equal of Bass or Allsopp is a bit of an exaggeration, but it was catching up, in terms of output, with the large London brewers.
What's very convenient of Gittens & Co is they showed exactly how Dreher compared to the great breweries of Burton and London in that most important aspect: price. Here's the very advert:
Hampshire Telegraph - Saturday 22 July 1871, page 2.
If you can remember back a few days, we learned that in 1869 36 gallons of Vienna Beer cost 106s 6d. You can see that price had come down a bit by 1871, but not much. Gittens charged 100s for 36 gallons.
Most of the beers in that list are relatively expensive, branded products: Bass, Allsopp, Guinness, Barclay, Courage. Yet Dreher's beer is about 50% more expensive than the dearest British beer in the list, Bass East India Ale.
You know what's really, really sad. I've got analyses of almost every one of those beers:
|1870||Barclay Perkins||KK||Stock Ale||1012.5||1079.2||8.83||84.22%|
|1870||Barclay Perkins||KKK||Stock Ale||1016.5||1093.1||10.13||82.27%|
|1870||Barclay Perkins||KKKK||Stock Ale||1017.0||1106.1||11.79||83.98%|
|1870||Bass||India Pale Ale||IPA||1060|
|1870||Bass||No. 4 Burton Ale||Mild Ale||1070|
|1870||Bass||No. 5 Burton Ale||Mild Ale||1065|
|1870||Bass||No. 6 Burton Ale||Mild Ale||1060|
|1869||Allsopp||Pale Ale||Pale Ale||0.15||1013||1068.45||7.19||80.32%|
|1868||Younger, Wm.||1||Strong Ale||1041||1099||7.67||58.59%|
|1868||Younger, Wm.||2||Strong Ale||1034||1088||7.14||61.36%|
|1868||Younger, Wm.||3||Strong Ale||1022||1077||7.28||71.43%|
|British Medical Journal June 25th 1870, page 658.|
|Bass price list|
|British Medical Journal August 28th 1869, page 245.|
|British Medical Journal 1870, vol. 1, 1870, page 68.|
|British Medical Journal Jan 23rd 1869, page 84.|
|Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/573.|
|Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/275.|
|William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive WY/6/1/2/21.|
You can see that Dreher's beer was amongst the weakest. So dreadfully expensive for the alcohol it contained. Some of you might also be surprised to see that the gravity of Bass IPA was even lower. Bass was also pretty crummy value for money, but still nearly 50% cheaper than Vienna Beer.