It's allowed me to track the arc of Porter's decline in the second half of the 19th century and the seemingly unstoppable rise of Mild Ale. But nothing lasts forever. Not even little joys. I feel cheated that, because of Whitbread discontinuing the table, I couldn't pin down exactly when Mild Ale started to spiral into decline.
The table below shows a very different situation, when Porter was still ascendant, especially in London. I think it's important to demonstrate that, although the London Porter brewers turned their hands to Ale in the 1830's, it was just a tiny part of their business.
The vast majority of Whitbread's output - over 80% - was Porter. Sadly, they didn't differentiate between P (Mild Porter) and K (Keeping Porter) in the table. (KXX, KXXX and KXXXX are also lumped in with XX, XXX and XXXX, respectively.) That would have been fascinating to see. Especially what the proportion was of each at different dates.
It's revealing how little Stout Whitbread brewed. Well under 10,000 barrels a year. Pretty much from the outset, they brewed more X Ale than all the Stouts combined. This set the trend for the later 19th century, where almost all Whitbread's output was either Porter or X Ale. It was only in the mid 1890's, when their Pale Ales started to gain popularity, that the combined share of Porter and X Ale fell below 75-80%.
Here's my table:
|Whitbread output by type 1837 - 1839|
|beer||barrels brewed||%age of total||barrels brewed||%age of total||barrels brewed||%age of total|
|Total Ale & Porter||178,438||181,490||191,935|
|Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/001, LMA/4453/D/01/002 and LMA/4453/D/01/003 .|