Saturday, 1 March 2014

Lion Brewery Burton Ale quality 1922 - 1923

The Lion Brewery, if you remember, was the impressive country house-like pile on the bank of the Thames in Lambeth. With a giant lion on top of it. It's a real shame it was demolished and replaced by the Royal Festival Hall, a pile 1950's shit.

Lion Brewery in 1896

Once again the chairman used the annual general meeting to make political utterances. Unsurprisingly, about the level of taxation and the price of beer.
Lion Brewery Company, Limited.

The annual general meeting was held in London on the 21st ult., Mr. Percy Gates, M.P. (chairman) presiding. The Chairman, moving the adoption of the report stated that the year 1922 had not been a good one for trade. The weather, with the exception of a few weeks in May and the early part of June, had been cold and wet, and not conducive to the consumption of beer; employment had been nose too good—in fact, the figures in November showed that a considerable percentage of the population was unemployed; and the price of beer to the consumer had in the circumstances been almost prohibitive. In 1914 the number of bulk barrels sold to the public was 37,558,767; in 1920 the number was 34,504,000; in  1921, 30,178,000, and in 1922, 26,545,000, and the Lion Brewery had shared in the universal reduction in trade. The Trade was still subject to the hop control, with the methods of which there was much dissatisfaction, and he could not see why brewers who had always taken their allocation of English hops should not have delivered to them the American hops which they had bought and paid for under contracts. He also urged that better arrangements should be made for the earlier delivery of the English crop. They were only now seeing the 1922 English crop, so that in consequence the hops were six months old before they reached the brewery.

He also referred to the anomaly of the hours in London. After pointing out that the amount of the debenture debt unredeemed was the small figure of £72,495, that the deposits and trade creditors were less than last year by £46,105, that the reserve account had been increased by £30,000, and the cash and investments by £44,978, the Chairman said that the gross profit on trading was much the same as in tho previous year, but that the rentals received were less by £5,097; that, on the other hand, the expenses were less by £5,764. and the interest payable by £2,696, so that the directors recommended the same dividends as were declared last year. It was impossible to forecast the future; that owing to unemployment, reduction of wages, and the continued high price of beer, trade continued to decline, and that it was more than possible that the estimate made by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer of a trade of 20,000,000 standard barrels for the year ending March 31, 1923, would not be realised ; that this was a very serious matter for the revenue of the country, and also for the agricultural districts, whose prosperity was bound up with the brewing industry. For whereas in the year 1914 52.5 millions of bushels of malt were sold, in the year 1922 the figure had dropped to 39.25 millions of bushels.

Although the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1922 reduced the income tax of the comparatively well-to-do by 1s. in the pound, he left untouched the income tax of the poorer classes, viz., the price of a pint of beer, and there was now an overwhelming case for such a reduction in duty as would admit of the reduction to the consumer of 2d. per pint. This would mean a reduction in duty of 50s, per standard barrel, and it was calculated that such a reduction would result in an immediate increase in consumption, which would reduce considerably the net cost to the Exchequer. A reduction of duty which would result in a reduction to the consumer of 1d. per pint would be quite inadequate, and would probably not result in increased consumption.

The report was adopted."
"The Brewers' journal, 1923", page 190.

Dropping the tax for the rich while leaving the tax on the poor the same? Sounds very much like the current British government.

Not sure what  "the anomaly of the hours in London" is on about,. Obviously something about pub opening times in London. For the life of me, I can't think what anomaly there was in them

A reduction of 50 shillings per standard barrel would have been a cut of 50% in the tax, which was at 100 shillings. That never happened. Though there was a reduction of sorts that allowed the price to drop by 1d per pint.

Moving on to Lion's Burton, I'll remind you that their Mild came seventh, with an average score of 0.4. The specs of their Burton are very standard in terms of gravity, attenuation and ABV. But what about flavour and clarity? Lets take a look:

Lion Brewery Burton Ale quality 1922 - 1923
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Appearance Flavour score
1922 KK 1011 1056.7 6.00 81.13% cloudy fair 1
1922 KK 1012 1054.3 5.47 77.35% not bright thin -1
1922 KK 1014 1052.6 5.07 74.14% v dark good 2
1922 KK 1014 1053.1 5.13 74.39% bright fair 1
1923 KK 1014 1054.1 5.27 74.86% rather hazy good 2
1923 KK 1013 1054.6 5.47 76.92% bright (pale) v fair 2
1923 KK 1012 1054.4 5.47 77.21% hazy only fair 0
1923 KK 1012 1051.7 5.14 76.40% not bright v poor -2
1923 KK 1013 1052.1 5.14 75.82% very dark indeed v fair 2
Average  1013 1053.73 5.35 76.47% 0.78
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

The clarity is again poor. Only two of nine samples are listed as bright. I'd really like to know what was going on here. Was it just poor cellarmanship? Did the brewers not fine their beers? With only two negative and six positive scores, Lion Burton does quite well in terms of flavour. And four of the positive scores are twos. Leaving an average score of 0.78.

Looks like your chances of getting a decent pint of Burton in a Lion Brewery pub look pretty good.

1 comment:

Mike Austin said...

I worked in pubs in Canterbury in the early 1980's. More than one long serving licensee told me that they used to fine the beers themselves, and often didn't bother for dark (cheap?) beer.
Do you know when the samples were taken? Isinglass can be temperamental in hot weather, which could also have a bearing o sourness, etc.
Mike Austin