Sunday, 8 June 2014

Beer sales by type in the early 1930's

I just stumbled across some handy numbers in an article in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing. I thought I'd share them with you.

The article is, intriguingly, about the food value of beer. I'll be regaling you with some of stuff more directly related to that topic later. There are so many lovely tables, how could I resist?

Now admitedly these aren't hard numbers, just educated guesses as the author, A. Chaston Chapman,  himself admitted:

"So far as I am able to ascertain, the above classes of beer are consumed in something like the following proportions"

these are his guesses:

Beer sales by type in the early 1930's
London and Suburbs.
Mild Ales 40%
Bitters and Pale Ales 40%
Stouts and Porters 15%
Strong Beers and Old Ales 5%
Rest of UK
Mild Ales 50%
Bitters and Pale Ale 35%
Stouts and Porters 10%
Strong Beers and Old Ales 5%
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 38, Issue 1, January-February 1932, page 88.

It's interesting to see that there was a difference between drinkers preferences in London and the rest of the country. I know that it was more complicated than that. The types of beer consumed in Scotland and Northern Ireland were very different from in England.

But I do have some real numbers. I know how much of each type of beer Whitbread brewed in the early 1930's. It was this:

Whitbread production by type 1930 - 1932
Beer type 1930 1931 1923
Mild Ales 35.47% 31.42% 30.44%
Bitters and Pale Ale 32.03% 31.01% 33.13%
Stouts and Porters 28.21% 28.97% 28.56%
Strong Beers and Old Ales 9.77% 8.61% 7.87%
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/096, LMA/4453/D/01/097 and LMA/4453/D/01/098.

Not quite the same as Chapman's. Then again, these are production, not sales figures. The Stout figures in particular may well be decepetive. I'm pretty sure Whitnread supplied Stout to other brewers. And a higher proportion than average of Whitbread's trade was in bottled beer. As their Mild Ale wasn't bottled, that's automatically going to lower its share of production.

Not sure if that has taught us much. But at least we had a laugh, eh?

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