Sunday, 29 November 2015

Hammonds international collaboration

Bottling was of vital importance to brewers in the 1950’s. Bottled beer was the only place there was any growth and breweries were keen to cash in.

But a lack of investment in the 1940’s had left many with far from optimal bottling arrangements. Once restrictions on building works were lifted, ambitious breweries like Hammonds were keen to put that right. Where would you go for the latest bottling expertise? Surprisingly, Denmark was a good choice.

There was a big shift to bottled beer in Denmark in the early 20th century. Something similar happened in many countries, but in few as dramatically as in Denmark. Draught beer became very scarce, even in pubs. That situation still prevailed when I first visited Copenhagen in the late 1980’s. The resurgence of draught beer in Denmark has gone hand in hand with a renewed interest in beer in general.

This gives an idea of the importance of bottled beer in Denmark:

Beer Sales (Carlsberg Brewery) in Barrels.
Bottled. Cask. Total. % bottled
1914-15 250,300 19,200 269,600 92.84%
1916-16 270,100 19,200 280,300 96.36%
1916-17 281,300 40,000* 321,300 87.55%
1917-18 182,000 18,900 195,900 92.90%
1918-19 254,800 17,600 272,400 93.54%
1919-20 406,400 21,400 447,800 90.75%
* Including 25,000 hectl. Pilsener at 18 Balling exported to Germany.
Journal of the Institute of Brewing 1921, page 28.

So no surprise that Hammonds looked to Carlsberg and Tuborg to help them out with their bottling plant:

"The way was now clear to consider serious and extensive changes to the brewing and bottling resources of the Hammonds' group of companies. Bottling was the first priority, being carried out in several locations in old buildings and with outdated equipment. The directors had a connection with the Danish brewery companies of Carlsberg and Tuborg, and through them engaged a Danish consultant engineer. Visits were made to Copenhagen and Elsinore to see modern bottling plants, and the consultant began work on designs. Unfortunately, he did not come up to expectation and an approach was made to Hammonds' friends at Ind Coope & Allsopp for assistance."
"The Brewing Industry 1950 - 1990", by Anthony Avis, 1997, page 35.

Elsinore is normally called Helsingborg Helsingør nowadays. Shame it didn’t work out with the Danes.


Gunnar H said...

No, Helsingborg is in Sweden, across the straits from Helsingør in Denmark. No bridge or tunnel to connect them, yet.

Anonymous said...

In the US, I believe brewers were able to expand bottling fairly easily early in the 20th Century in part because there was a lot of machinery being made for soda pop manufacturers as well.

Was there much of a carbonated soft drink market in England into the 1950s? If not, I think that might be another piece why English brewers might be comparatively behind the curve after World War II.

Ron Pattinson said...


I realised I'd made a mistake there and meant to change it. But forgot.