Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Casks in WW II (part two)

We're back with casks in WW II. I had a little too much information for a single post.

Some breweries had the foresight to buy in staves before the outbreak of war. Though, in Whitbread's case at least, they ended up as firewood:

"For many years the policy in Whitbreads cooperage was to do their own repairs, and not to buy now casks from outside. Some 20 years ago machinery was put in for making casks, and since then in addition to doing repairs all new casks have been made, only occasionally an odd 50 or 100 being bought. Considerable quantities of staves were purchased and stored in and about the cooperage-side of the brewery. The threat of war encouraged buying generously and the outbreak of war found the firm stocked with plenty of staves, both Memel and English.

. . .

A large proportion of our stock of stoves went up in flames, and most of the cooperage machinery was ruined as the result of one night's attack by enemy action which caused still greater difficulties."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing Volume 48, Issue 2, 1942, page 79.

Here's an example about how moves made to economise elsewhere had an impact on the number of barrels a brewery required:

"In the early days of the war a change over from two deliveries a week to one to each public house was made to economise in petrol. The result was an immediate offset upon the stocks of casks, and instead of having ample casks for all times of the year (excepting possibly the Christmas Bank Holiday), it was found that barely sufficient casks wore available to satisfy racking requirements, and at Bank Holiday time there was an acute shortage."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing Volume 48, Issue 2, 1942, page 79.

It makes sense - if you double the size of deliveries you're obviously going to need more casks. 

1 comment:

Barm said...

And if your casks are sitting empty in the cellar of the pub for twice as long before you get them back, you’re going to need more casks.

Strangely enough a similar issue arose at Groterjan when they were making Berliner Weisse, as I’ve just read. Because the beer spent three months or so maturing in the bottle, each returnable bottle would only make it back to the brewery for refilling a few times a year. So Berliner Weisse breweries needed a bigger stock of bottles than others.