At a time when there was still a large amount of bottling on a very small scale. Publicans, grocers and small bottlers often worked with quantities no greater than a hogshead (54 gallons). The risk of fraud from such small operations was much greater than from the larger bottlers. And, of course, the in-house bottling departments of brewers themselves.
I can't help wondering when the last case of counterfeit Bass was. The latest I've found so far is 1919. I'm sure that's not the last. But were there any after 1945?
I love this notice placed by Bass just before WW I, basically thresatening with prosecution anyone who dared fob off someone else's beer as theirs.
BASS'S BOTTLED ALE
In the Court of Justice. Chancery Division. BASS. RATCLIFF & GRETTON, LTD., Plaintiffs, and ________ Defendant.
On the day June, 1913, a PERPETUAL INJUNCTION was granted by Justice Eve in the Chancery Division, restraining the Defendant, his servants and agents from selling or offering for sale as "BASS" or "BOTTLED BASS" Ale not of the Plaintiffs' manufacture, and the Defendant was ordered to pay costs of the action.
NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC.
Bass, Ratcliff & Ltd., will be grateful if the Pubiic communicate with them when they have reason to suspect the genuineness of ale supplied either as "BOTTLED BASS" or "DRAUGHT BASS," and NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that LEGAL PROCEEDINGS will taken against any person who is detected selling "BASS" (either in bottle or draught) ale which not of Messrs BASS & Co.'S manufacture."
Aberdeen Journal - Monday 21 July 1913, page 1.
Interesting that all of those court cases and injunctions always apply to Bass Pale Ale. No-one seems to have bothered faking their other beers.
As a special bonus, here are some analyses of Bass beers from before WW I:
|Bass beers 1892 - 1901|
|1892||Extra Pale Ale||Pale Ale||bottled||1009.1||1059.15||6.55||84.62%|
|1896||Pale Ale||Pale Ale||0.234||1006.94||1060.80||6.98||87.97%|
|1896||Strong Ale||Strong Ale||0.288||1034.91||1101.87||8.56||63.64%|
|1898||Pale Ale||Pale Ale||bottled||1015.55||1064.85||6.43||76.02%|
|1901||Dog's Head||Pale Ale||bottled||0.171||1003.34||1065.63||8.06||94.59%|
|1901||White Label||Pale Ale||bottled||0.171||1007.41||1063.77||7.25||87.73%|
|1901||draught Pale Ale||Pale Ale||draught||0.144||1013.40||1063.99||6.48||78.03%|
|Wisconsin Dairy and Food Commission|
|Wahl & Henius, pages 823-830|
|Brockhaus' konversations-lexikon, Band 2 by F.A. Brockhaus, 1898 http://books.google.de/books?id=oZ5PAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA999&dq=bierdruckapparat+konversationslexikon#PPA1000,M1|
Note the crazily-high degree of attenuation of some examples. The Strong Ale is Bass No. 1.