Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Vienna Beer in Hampshire

Vienna Beer spread remarkably quickly after landing in London in 1868. I've found adverts for it cropping up all over the place. This one just happens to be from Hampshire.

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.

Conveyed to England in Ice Safes especially constructed for this purpose.
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:

Year Brewer Beer Style Acidity FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation
1869 Barclay Perkins X Mild 1013.0 1060.1 6.23 78.37%
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 Barclay Perkins Porter Porter 0.19 1016 1058.5 5.61 72.51%
1870 Barclay Perkins Stout Stout 0.28 1029 1081.21 6.55 63.91%
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%
1870 Allsopp Mild Mild 0.22 1015 1057.33 5.53 74.22%
1870 Guinness Stout Stout 0.24 1016 1078.06 8.51 80.13%
1867 Courage DB Stout Stout 1077.84
1867 Courage Stout Stout 1067.31
1868 Younger, Wm. XP IPA 1013 1051 5.03 74.51%
1868 Younger, Wm. XXP IPA 1014 1055 5.42 74.55%
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%
1869 Dreher Dreher's Beer Märzen 0.12 1020 1062.17 5.54 68.22%
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.

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