Saturday, 21 September 2013

Bottled beers in the 1880's

Quite predictable, isn't it, my stepping through the decades? Maybe a should throw you off by suddenly jumping to the 1930's. Or something. Just to be different. No-one likes being predictable.

The 1880's were a decade of great change - and prosperity - for the brewing industry. First there was the 1880 Free Mash Tun Act that removed the restrictions on the ingredients used in brewing and moved taxation from malt to beer. More importantly, the tax was calculated on the gravity of wort before fermentation. One effect of this was to encourage the production of lower gravity beers. Particularly the low-gravity Pale Ales known as Light Dinner Ale, Family Ale, Luncheon and a host of similar names. Eventually their names would be shortened to simply Light Ale.


This set has just two Mild Ales and no Porters whatsoever. Though, as I mentioned before, what was called Copper was likely really bottled Porter. At the price it was sold for, I'm sure that's the case. The same applies to the beers sold as Family Stout or Luncheon Stout. This is the start of Stout's slip from a strong to a weak beer.

At the top end of the market, there was clearly still a good demand for the IPA's of BAss and Allsopp. But this is getting close to the end of the good times for Burton brewers. They were particularly hard hit by the changes to the licensing rules in the 1890's, which saw local authorities actively trying to close pubs. The result was a scramble for tied houses. Burton brewers like Bass and Allsopp, who had previously had no trouble finding outlets for their beer began to be squeezed out as breweries insisted on their pubs only selling their products. Allsopps paniced in the 1890's and, using the cash raised when the company was floated, made a series of rash pub purchases. By the early 20th century the compant ws limping towards insolvency.

Somehow Guinness managed to avoid the fate of Bass and Allsopp. They, too, owned no pubs but weer increasingly making the bottled Stout market in the pub trade their own. Still not quite sure how they pulled that one off.


Bottled beers in the 1880's
Brewery Place year beer style price per dozen size source
Barrett ?? 1880 Ale Ale 2s 3d pint The British Library
John Bird  Westerfield, Suff. 1883 Bottled Ale Ale 2s 3d pint
Bass  Burton 1883 Ale Ale 3s 9d pint The British Library
Wright Brothers Shoreditch 1888 Amber Ale Amber Ale 2s 6d pint Shoreditch Observer 10th March 1888
Wright Brothers Shoreditch 1888 Amber Ale Amber Ale 1s 6d half pint Shoreditch Observer 10th March 1888
Anglo-Bavarian Shepton Mallet 1889 Amber Ale Amber Ale 3s Imperial pint The British Library
Simonds Reading 1882 Reading Cooper Cooper 3s imperial pint Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Whitbread & Co. London 1883 Cooper Cooper 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Whitbread & Co. London 1883 Cooper Cooper 2s 4d pint The British Library
Whitbread & Co. London 1888 London Cooper Cooper 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
A. Gordon & Co. Islington 1889 Cooper Cooper 2s 9d pint
Simonds Reading 1882 SB Fine Sparkling Dinner Ale Dinner Ale 3s imperial pint Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Simonds Reading 1882 SB Fine Sparkling Dinner Ale Dinner Ale 2s 6d half bottle Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Allsopp Burton 1883 Dinner Ale Dinner Ale 3s Imperial pint The British Library
Allsopp Burton 1883 Light Dinner Ale Dinner Ale 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Whitbread & Co. London 1888 Family Ale Dinner Ale 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Foster London 1889 Light Dinner Ale Dinner Ale 2s Imperial pint The British Library
Foster London 1889 Family Ale Dinner Ale 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
W & S Lucas Hitchin, Herts 1882 India Pale Ale IPA 3s pint Kelly's Directory of Essex, 1882
Simonds Reading 1882 India Pale Ale IPA 5s bottle Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Simonds Reading 1882 India Pale Ale IPA 4s imperial pint Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Simonds Reading 1882 India Pale Ale IPA 3s half bottle Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Bass Burton 1882 Bass's Pale Ale IPA 6s imperial pint Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Bass Burton 1882 Bass's Pale Ale IPA 4s 6d half bottle Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Bass Burton 1882 Bass's Pale Ale IPA 3s 6d imperial pint Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Allsopp Burton 1883 India Pale Ale IPA 3s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Bass  Burton 1883 Pale Ale IPA 4s Imperial pint The British Library
Bass Burton 1888 India Pale Ale IPA 4s 6d imperial pint Yorkshire Gazette - Saturday 30 June 1888, page 3
Bass Burton 1888 India Pale Ale IPA 2s 6d half pint Yorkshire Gazette - Saturday 30 June 1888, page 3
A. Gordon & Co. Islington 1889 India Pale Ale IPA 3s 9d pint
Bass  Burton 1889 India Pale Ale IPA 3s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Foster London 1889 India Pale Ale IPA 3s Imperial pint The British Library
Allsopp Burton 1883 English Lager Lager 2s 10d Imperial pint The British Library
Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer Brewery London 1884 Tottenham Lager Lager 3s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer Brewery London 1884 Tottenham Munich Lager 3s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer Brewery London 1884 Tottenham Bock Lager 3s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer Brewery London 1884 Tottenham Pilsen Lager 3s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer Brewery London 1884 Tottenham Lager Lager 3s reputed pint The British Library
Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer Brewery London 1884 Tottenham Munich Lager 3s reputed pint The British Library
Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer Brewery London 1884 Tottenham Bock Lager 3s reputed pint The British Library
Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer Brewery London 1884 Tottenham Pilsen Lager 3s reputed pint The British Library
?? ?? 1889 Pilsener Lager Beer (imported) Lager 4s 9d Imperial pint The British Library
A. Gordon & Co. Islington 1889 Rich Mild Ale Mild 2s 9d pint
A. Gordon & Co. Islington 1889 Strong Mild Ale Mild 4s 6d pint
Ind Coope Romford 1882 Romford Ale Pale Ale 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Ind Coope Romford 1883 Romford Ale Pale Ale 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Globe ?? 1883 Bitter Ale Pale Ale 3s Imperial pint The British Library
Allsopp Burton 1883 Ale Pale Ale 2s 9d pint The British Library
Ind Coope Romford 1883 Ale Pale Ale 2s 3d pint The British Library
Allsopp Burton 1883 Light Bitter Pale Ale 2s 10d Imperial pint The British Library
Ind Coope Romford 1883 Pale Romford Ale Pale Ale 2s 3d Imperial pint The British Library
Wright Brothers Shoreditch 1888 Mild Bitter Ale Pale Ale 2s pint Shoreditch Observer 10th March 1888
Wright Brothers Shoreditch 1888 Mild Bitter Ale Pale Ale 1s 3d half pint Shoreditch Observer 10th March 1888
Whitbread & Co. London 1888 Pale Ale Pale Ale 3s Imperial pint The British Library
A. Gordon & Co. Islington 1889 Fine Tonic Ale, Bitter Pale Ale 2s 9d pint
A. Gordon & Co. Islington 1889 Pale Ale, Bitter Pale Ale 3s 3d pint
Anglo-Bavarian Shepton Mallet 1889 Light Bitter Pale Ale 3s Imperial pint The British Library
Henry Lovibond, Cannon Brewery Fulham 1889 VPA  Pale Ale 2s 6d Imperial pint
Henry Lovibond, Cannon Brewery Fulham 1889 XVPA Pale Ale 3s Imperial pint
Henry Lovibond, Cannon Brewery Fulham 1889 XXB Pale Ale 4s Imperial pint
Barrett ?? 1880 Stout Stout 2s 4d pint The British Library
Mann & Crossmann London 1880 Stout Stout 2s 4d pint The British Library
Raggett London 1880 Nourishing Stout Stout 3s 6d pint Hampshire Telegraph - Saturday 18 December 1880, page 7
Raggett London 1880 Nourishing Stout Stout 4s 6d pint Hampshire Telegraph - Saturday 18 December 1880, page 7
W & S Lucas Hitchin, Herts 1882 Double Stout Stout 3s pint Kelly's Directory of Essex, 1882
Simonds Reading 1882 Reading Double Stout Stout 5s bottle Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Simonds Reading 1882 Reading Double Stout Stout 4s imperial pint Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
Simonds Reading 1882 Reading Double Stout Stout 3s half bottle Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 25 November 1882, page 1
John Bird  Westerfield, Suff. 1883 Bottled Stout Stout 3s 9d pint
Combe London 1883 London Stout Stout 3s Imperial pint The British Library
Guinness Dublin 1883 Extra Stout Stout 4s Imperial pint The British Library
Guinness Dublin 1883 Extra Stout Stout 3s 6d pint The British Library
Guinness Dublin 1883 Dublin Extra Stout Stout 3s 3d Imperial pint The British Library
South London Brewery Southwark 1886 Generous Stout Stout 3s pint
Wright Brothers Shoreditch 1888 London Stout Stout 3s pint Shoreditch Observer 10th March 1888
Wright Brothers Shoreditch 1888 London Stout Stout 1s 8d half pint Shoreditch Observer 10th March 1888
Whitbread & Co. London 1888 London Stout Stout 3s Imperial pint The British Library
Whitbread & Co. London 1888 Extra Stout Stout 3s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Watney London 1888 London Stout Stout 4s 6d imperial pint Yorkshire Gazette - Saturday 30 June 1888, page 3
Watney London 1888 London Stout Stout 2s 6d half pint Yorkshire Gazette - Saturday 30 June 1888, page 3
A. Gordon & Co. Islington 1889 Stout Stout 3s 3d pint
A. Gordon & Co. Islington 1889 Double Stout Stout 3s 9d pint
A. Gordon & Co. Islington 1889 Imperial Stout Stout 4s 6d pint
Allsopp Burton 1889 Luncheon Stout Stout 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Bass  Burton 1889 Special Bottling Stout Stout 3s 3d Imperial pint The British Library
Foster London 1889 Family Stout Stout 2s Imperial pint The British Library
Foster London 1889 Luncheon Stout Stout 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library
Foster London 1889 Nourishing Stout Stout 3s Imperial pint The British Library
Henry Lovibond, Cannon Brewery Fulham 1889 Stout Stout 3s Imperial pint
W & S Lucas Hitchin, Herts 1882 Strong Ale Strong Ale 3s pint Kelly's Directory of Essex, 1882
Bass  Burton 1889 Light Table Ale Table Ale 2s 6d Imperial pint The British Library

4 comments:

Phil said...

Seeing "imperial stout" in that price list reminded me of a pet nitpick of mine in contemporary beer talk: "Imperial Russian Stout". It seems to be generally accepted these days that "Imperial Russian" designates a style, and that the style has something to do with Imperial Russia, hence labels with black eagles and so on.

It seems to me that when Victorian brewers - or beer drinkers - saw the word 'imperial' they would think immediately of the British empire, in which they (understandably) took some pride - and that 'imperial' as a designator simply meant 'top of the line', 'good enough for Her Majesty'. 'Russian' stout was the kind of stout that went down well in Russia, and 'Imperial Russian' was the top end of the 'Russian' line - nothing to do with the Romanovs.

What do you think?

Ron Pattinson said...

Phil,

as there was also Imperial Mild that never went anywhere near Russia, that's a fair enough point. But Thrale really did brew for the Russian court. In the case of the Thrale/Barclay Perkins beer, I think there was a genuine connection with Russia. There were other beers with Imperial in the name which had no such connection.

marquis said...

I would say that Imperial to a Victorian would conjure up India.
Victoria was crowned Empress of India.
Yet I don't know of the term being applied to beers sent to the sub continent.

Martyn Cornell said...

Victoria was only crowned Empress of India in, IIRC, the 1870s, after her daughter's husband, previously King of Prussia, became Emperorof Germany and, in theory, outranked her mum - that couldn't be allowed to happen, of course, hence Vicky's promotion to Empressness. Imperial as a name long predated the Empress of India caoper.