Monday, 1 September 2014

Charrington Stout quality 1922 - 1925

Charrington was one of the big successes of the interwar years. But even they had to be realistic.

First, the good news. They got 30 of the 80 pubs Whitbread got from the Notting Hill Brewery:

"Interesting Brewery Deal.
It is stated that negotiations have been completed for the sale some 80 public-houses belonging the Notting Hill Brewery Company to Whitbread and Company (Limited), and that some 30 of these have been resold to Messrs. Charrington's Brewery. The deal is said to involve quarter of million sterling, Whitbread and the Notting Hill Brewery are purely London concerns, but Charrington and Co. (Limited) own a business at Burton-on-Trent as well one in London. The Notting Hill Company does not publish its accounts, but Whitbreads and Charrington's securities are held by the public, and reports are issued. Dividends on Whitbread Ordinary Shares have recently been 7 per cent., free of income-tax, while Charrington and Co. distributed 9 per cent, respect of 1918."
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 11 October 1920, page 12.

80 pubs for a quarter of a million quid: I make that an average of £3,125 per pub. Which doesn't seem that much. Though it is 125,000 pints (or 434 barrels) at 6d a pint.

Interesting that Whitbread is reported to be an exclusively London business. I think they're really referring to just the pub trade because I've seen adverts for Whitbread's bottled beer from all over the country. Charringtons didn't keep their provincial trade much longer:

Messrs. Charrington and Co., Ltd., the well. brewers, have decided to sell the public houses in various parts of the provinces, and they will concentrate on their London business. Altogether 87 licensed properties will submitted for auction. There are 53 fully-licensed houses, 23 on-beer licences and 11 off-licences, with contiguous properties, as well the Abbey Brewery, Burton-on-Trent, with offices, maltings, cooperage, railway sidings, houses, stores, etc.

In Derby the properties are: Dog and Duck, Haarlem-street, and cottage adjoining: off licence, 61, Church-street; Bedford Arms, Bedford-street Coach and Horses, Mansfield road; Lamb Inn Park-street, and adjoining premises; Boar Tavern Cockpit Hill; and Station Inn, Midland-road."
Derby Daily Telegraph - Wednesday 06 January 1926, page 4.

It was probably the brewery that they really wanted to get rid of, but the pubs would have been uneconomical to supply from their London brewery. None of the London brewers seem to have made a huge success from their Burton breweries. I don't think Truman's ever operated at full capacity.

On with the beer itself. It looks a bit on the weak side compared to the average for a 9d (after 1923 8d) Stout. But the two samples in the 1030's are clearly Porter and not Stout. I think some Charrington's publicans were being a bit naughty and passing off the much cheaper Porter as Stout. I've produced a second set of averages with those two removed.

Now how did it score?

Charrington Stout quality 1922 - 1925
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Flavour score Price
1922 Stout 1011.4 1034.9 3.04 67.34% fair, rather thin -1 9
1922 Stout 1010.6 1050.6 5.21 79.05% poor -1 9
1922 Stout 1013.8 1056.3 5.53 75.49% too sweet -1 9
1922 Stout 1011.2 1039.2 3.63 71.43% v poor -2 9
1923 Stout 1012.6 1050.1 4.87 74.85% fair 1 9
1923 Stout 1013.4 1050.9 4.87 73.67% going off -2 9
1923 Stout 1013.4 1052.9 5.13 74.67% gone off -3 8
1923 Stout 1013.6 1053.6 5.20 74.63% poor -1 9
1923 Stout 1014.6 1050.6 4.67 71.15% poor -1 8
1923 Stout 1012.6 1052.6 5.20 76.05% sour -3 8
1925 Stout 1015 1055 5.20 72.73% good 2 8
Average  1012.9 1049.7 4.78 73.73% -1.09 8.64
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Averages without the Porters:

FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation
1013.3 1052.5 5.10 74.70%

Pretty poorly. Only two of the eleven examples received a positive score. Some of them sound pretty bad. Unsurprisingly, one of the Porters masquerading as Stout was described as "thin". The average score of -1.08 is pretty bad.

Once again, I'm disappointed by Charrington's performance. Only their Burton Ale has done well so far. I'd definitely advise any time traveller to avoid their pubs.

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