Cartel forming amongst brewers is nothing new. They were at it back in the 1890’s. Luckily for me, because the draught agreement tells us a lot about what was being brewed in the 1890’s.
|1893 price-fixing agreement|
|beer type||max. º Balling||minimum price per litre|
|Hollandsch Bier||9º||7 cents|
|Nieuw Hollandsch Bier||9º||7 cents|
|Lager Bier||11º||9 cents|
|Extra Lager Bier||11º||9 cents|
|Brown Stout||16º||16 cents|
|Extra Stout||19º||20 cents|
|"Korte Geschiedenis der Heineken's Bierbouwerij Maatschappij N.V. 1873 - 1948" (p.421, 422)|
1900 - 1914
Despite the success of these new concerns Dutch beer production was stagnant at around 1.5 million hectolitres annually in the years leading up to WW I .
A range of Lager styles were produced, in a variety of strengths and colours. At this point Pils still did not have the dominant position it later acquired. That’s demonstrated by a quick look at Heineken’s brewing records. I won’t claim this is a definitive breakdown of the relative amounts of if each type of beer brewed by Heineken. It’s just what’s on four random pages that I photographed. But it does give some idea of the proportions.
On every single page around half of the brews were of Gerste. Second most popular, by a long way, was Lager , a lower-gravity Pale Lager that was the equivalent of Winterbier or Schenkbier.
|Heineken Rotterdam production by type in 1911|
|type||no. of brews||size of brew (HL)||total amount||% of total|
|Heineken brewing record held at the Amsterdam Stadsarchief, document number 834-1752.|
It’s clear that Pils was still very much a minority drink and that Beiersch was already a marginal product.
The share of Bok was undoubtedly lower as I’ve based these figures on the number of brews of each type at a certain point in the brewing year, in this case June. It ran up until the end of September so while all the brews of Bok appear in the figures, only about 75% of those for the other styles do.
This is an overview of the beers Heineken Rotterdam brewed in 1911:
|Heineken Rotterdam beers in 1911|
|Bier||OG Balling||FG Balling||app.degree attenuation||% ABV||Colour||hops (gm/hl)|
|Heineken brewing records held at the Amsterdam Stadsarchief|
The poor degree of attenuation is typical of early Lagers. Even the Pils is less than 70% attenuated. You’ll see how this changed over the course of the 20th century.