“YORKS BREWERY FLIES THE BEER TO BELGIUM
THE AIRLIFT to Europe has begun again from Yorkshire. But this time the load is not coal or flour—but beer!
Belgium's dock strike threatened to cut off imports of Tadcaster-brewed beer, so the brewery decided to fly direct to Antwerp from Sherburn airfield.
By to-morrow the equivalent 100,000 bottles special brew will have been flown by Halifax transport aircraft. After delivering, the plane brings back empties to Sherburn.
The Halifax made three trips to Antwerp during the week-end, and took off again from Sherburn to-day with load of 36-gallon casks. It was due back to make a second run to-day.
With yesterday's load to Antwerp went the brewery’s bottling manager, Mr. A. J. Edwards, of Tadcaster. He will superintend unshipping at Antwerp airport until the "beer-lift" finishes.
A brewery director said to-day: We were forced to take this step retain our hold on a valuable export market We shall continue flying beer to Belgium as long as it is necessary."
A Customs and Excise officer is now at Sherburn for Customs formalities so that the aircraft can make a direct 90-minute run to Belgium.”
Yorkshire Evening Post - Monday 28 August 1950, page 1.
It must have been a valuable market indeed for the brewery to go to the trouble of flying beer over. That can't have been cheap.
Any guesses at which brewery it might be? No, it’s not Sam Smiths. I don’t think they exported back then. Whereas I have evidence that the other Smith in Tadcaster was exporting to Belgium:
|John Smith beers for Belgium 1950 - 1965|
|1960||Pale Ale (sold in Belgium)||1055.5||1013.7||5.22||75.32%||17|
|1965||Pale Ale (sold in Belgium)||1056.1||1011.8||5.54||78.97%||13|
|1950||Scotch Ale||1080.3||1025.6||7.11||68.12%||40 + 6.5|
|1950||Scotch Ale||1080.6||1025.6||7.15||68.24%||5.5 + 40|
|1952||Scotch Ale||1078.6||1024||7.10||69.47%||9.5 + 40|
|1954||Scotch Ale (purchased in Belgium)||1072.6||1022.1||6.56||69.56%||95|
|1955||Scotch Ale (purchased in Belgium)||1072.3||1022||6.54||69.57%||75|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.|
The Pale is an interesting one. It’s weaker and considerably paler than the Magnet Pale Ale they brewed for the domestic market. I can understand why it would be stronger, but why so much paler? Presumably because that’s what the Belgian market demanded.