Monday 14 April 2014

Random brewery price list - Crowley of Alton

This one isn't an obscure, unimportant brewery. Because this was the brewery founded by James Baverstock in 1763*.

In the 1760's, James Baverstock Jnr. carried out some of the first serious experiments with the thermometer and the hydrometer in the brewery**. It was the beginning of scientific brewing. Which makes the brewery incredibly important in the history of brewing.

The brewery was bought by the Crowley family in 1821 and it operated as Crowly and Co. until it was taken over by Watney in 1947. It must have been a decent size, because it had 248 pubs. It closed in 1970***.

Here are the brewery's beers from 1870:

Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Saturday 19 February 1870, page 4.

Looks like they specialised in Pale Ales, which isn't surprising seeing as they were located in Alton. Which, if you remember from a couple of days back, had similar water to Burton. It's the B that I find interesting. At only 32 shillings a barrel, it can't have been more than about 1045º. Pretty damn weak, even for a Light Bitter, at that time.

What else? A nice use of theterm Imperial Mild. That really is a ting range of Mild Ales. Just a weak and a very strong one. And just one Stout. Like I said, clearly a Pale Ale specialist.

Here's my guess at the gravities:

Crowley beers in 1870
price per barrel guess OG
BBB Bitter Ale 54 1065
BB Bitter Ale 44 1055
B Bitter Ale 32 1045
Imperial (Old or Mild) 60 1095
X 36 1055
Stout 54 1085
Porter 36 1055
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Saturday 19 February 1870, page 4.

I must do this again. It's so much fun.

* "A Century of British Brewers Plus" by Norman Barber, 205, page 46.
** "A History of Beer and Brewing" by Ian Hornsey, 2003, pages 424 and 426.
*** "A Century of British Brewers Plus" by Norman Barber, 205, page 46.


Jeff Renner said...

I don't remember seeing an additional charge for a smaller cask before. It's always surprised me that there isn't usually one. Similarly, it always seems odd that in the UK the price of a half pint is half that of a pint. Sadly, that's never the case here in the US.

This raises another question. Was there a deposit on the casks? I imagine so. How much?

Anonymous said...

Ron-the preferred cask sizes are 18s and 9s and these must have been in the minority back then.What customer market were they aiming at?

Ron Pattinson said...


this is gor the home trade, not pubs. That's why they have such small cask sizes.

Ron Pattinson said...


as these casks were being sent to private households rather than tied pubs, I'm sure there would have been a deposit charged.

I've seen an extra charge for smaller casks occasionally, but, yes, usually the price per gallon is the same no matter what the cask size.