Again, a few seemingly dull numbers tell us a stack. First Truman's hopping rates. There wasn't a huge change in average gravity over this period, so we can take the figures at face value. Between 1924 and 1940 the average hopping rate almost halved, save for a little blip in 1931 and 1932. but I think I can explain that. The blip, I mean.
1932 was a funny year for British brewing. A shit one, really. Beer production plummeted after the big tax rise in Snowden's 1931 emergency Budget. Which probably partially explains why hops were so cheap in 1932. In 1934, after the tax increase had been reversed and beer production started to rise again, the hop price goes up again.
Here are some details on UK hop production. Usually you would expect the poor harvests in 1931 and 1932 to have forced up prices. But because beer production fell - and hence hop usage, too - prices didn't go crazy.
|Hops: home production and imports|
|Year ended 31st Dec.||Acreage||Estimated Produce||Imports: Less Re-Exports||Consumption Years ended 30th Sept. following|
|Brewers' Almanack 1955, page 63.|
Usage of foreign hops also tells a story. Though the figures are confused by the inclusion of other European hops in the British numbers for most years. What we're really seeing is European vs American hops.
Pre-WW I massive amounts of hops were imported from the US. And in the immediate post-war years, with the hop industry in Europe still suffering from the war, large quantities were again imported from the US. Through the 1920's, these hops were around a third of those used at Truman. But once the UK industry became just about self-sufficient, Truman dropped foreign hops.
|Truman Brick Lane hop usage 1924 - 1940|
|UK hops||Foreign hops||total hops|
|year||cwt||%||cwt||%||cwt||Average price (cwt)||oz per barrel brewed|
|Document B/THB/C/256c held at the London Metropolitan Archives|
I'm saving the best stuff from this document for later. Stay tuned.