Which explains why I keep coming across adverts for their bottled beer from all over the country. Like this one:
|Morpeth Herald - Friday 17 March 1911, page 11.|
Morpeth in North of Newcastle - about as far away as you can get from London and still be in England. It imples that Whitbread's bottled beers had just about mational distribution.
I can't help wondering what Nourishing Ale was. There are only two beers that fit the bill gravity-wise: 2PA (a slightly weaker version of their PA) and X Ale. I'd be inclined toi go for the latter.
This table shows just how important:
|Whitbread Draught and Bottled sales 1901 – 1938|
|Whitbread archive document number LMA/4453/D/02/16|
By the outbreak of WW I, 50% of Whitbread's sales were in bottled form. That's a huge proportion, far, far more than the average. Which makes it all the odder that Whitbread insisted on bottle-conditioning its beers.
All that bottled beer meant that there were loads of empty bottles knocking around. Which other bottlers were only too happy to use.
"OTHER FIRMS’ BOTTLES.
PROSECUTION OF BIRMINGHAM COMPANY
An interesting case under the Merchandise Marks Act was heard before the Stipendiary (Lord Ilkeston) at the Birmingham Police Court to-day.
John Bailey, trading as Barrett’s Country Bottling Company, 240, St. Vincent-etreet, Ladywood, was summoned for selling four bottles of ale on 12 September to which a false trade description had been applied.
Mr. P. Sandlands (instructed by Messrs. Duggan and Elton) prosecuted, and the defendant was represented Mr. Simmons.
Mr. Sandlands stated that the prosecution wae taken at the instance of the Birmingham and District Mineral Water Manufacturers’ and Bottlers’ Association. On 12 September the defendant's carter delivered to Mr. Q. S. Grubb. Icknield-street, four dozen bottles of ale, and of that number no fewer than four of the bottles belonged to Whitbread and Co., brewers and bottlers. The bottles bore a special label of Barrett’s Country bottling Company, but they also had the trade mark and name of Whitbread’s impressed upon them, and stoppers bearing different brewers’ names. There was no excuse for the defendant using the bottles belonging to other people. Messrs. Whitbread spent no less than £12,000 every year renewing their stock of bottles.
Mr. Simmons admitted that a technical offence had been committed the defendant, but contended that there was no intention to defraud.
Mr. Bailey gave evidence, and said when he took over the business in 1912 he had 1,234 gross of bottles in stock, more than sufficient to carry on the business. He had given instructions to his men not to take or use bottles belonging to other firms. The label he put on the bottles did not bear the name the brewer of the beer he sold.
Another summons was heard against Mr. Bailey for selling three bottles on the same day bearing the name of R. White and Sons, mineral water manufacturer, who it was stated, spent £20,000 on renewing bottles.
A third summons was also heard in respect of the use by the defendant of stoppers belonging to R. White and Sons in bottles containing his beer. This it stated. was the first case the the kind in Birmingham.
The Stipendiary fined defendant £5 and costs on the first summons, £2 and costs on each the other two summonses, and £5 5s special costs.
Three other summonses were withdrawn on the payment of costs."
Evening Despatch - Wednesday 30 September 1914, page 4.
It must have been annoying to spend all that dosh on bottles and have someone else use them. Although there was a deposit charged, it was often less than the value of the bottle. Which means the brewer lost out if the bottle wasn't returned.
With the resurgence of proprietary bottles, it's a problem that could reapper. Except those bottles aren't usually returnable. I can only think of one returnable bottle that bears a brand: Westmalle. And that does get re-used, without complaint, by other brewers, notablt Westvleteren.