Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Changing taste

More stuff about the increasing popularity of bottled beer in the 1950’s. Along with an explanation of why it was occurring.

As it was a landlord addressing a group of landlords, you’d like to hope that he knew what the hell he was talking about.

Changing taste
Victuallers find people today are drinking more bottled beer
ADDRESSING the annual meeting Grantham and District Licensed Victuallers' Association yesterday week, Mr. G. K. Gordon, of Nottingham, representative of the National Trade Defence Association, said that there was a considerable decline in the consumption of draught beer, almost certainly because people today were drinking more bottled beer. He associated this with the fact that the habits of the public were changing — people were becoming more hygienically minded and demanding packed goods. Another reason he offered was that bottled beer was attractive to the eye, and, further, that it was easier to handle.”
Grantham Journal - Friday 17 December 1954, page 3.
He gives two reasons: bottled beer looks prettier and was perceived as more hygienic than draught . The reasoning being that because it was presented in a sealed container it couldn’t be tampered with, as cask beer could be. The liking for factory-packaged goods went back to the 19th century, when the dodgy practices of unscrupulous grocers made consumers wary of loose produce. After the war, the public’s love of packaged goods only grew.

This prediction was pretty wide of the mark:

“"People like their refreshment to be gaily dressed, and the suppliers, who are acutely aware of this, must satisfy the contemporary feelings." he said. "I think the time is coming when all beer will be bottled."

Mr. Gordon humorously pointed out that, should many more different types of alcoholic drink invented, the publican would need more space behind the bar than in front! Price adjustments had been a much-debated subject for some time, but he was confident it would eventually sort itself out.

He advised retailers to sell some alternative refreshment to beer, being certain that this would aid the sale the latter. as did television. Laughter accompanied the conclusion Mr. Gordon's address, when, perhaps as a solace to the retailers, said: "Probably in 100 years’ time our drinks will be produced automatically, and the products of our age unearthed from the museum!"”
Grantham Journal - Friday 17 December 1954, page 3.

With the rise of keg beer in the early 1960’s, bottled beer began to fall out of favour again and drinkers returned to drinking mostly draught beer, at least in the pub. Though with the degree of automation now occurring, he’s probably not so wrong about drinks eventually being made automatically.

I don’t understand this last bit. Why would you want to open at 10:30 rather than 11:00? Surely there would be little custom that early in the morning. I’d expect trade to be better between 14:30 and 15:00 than 10:30 and 11:00. 

The committee's annual report recorded that during the past, year effort had been made to change morning opening hours to 10.30 a.m. until 2.30 p.m. instead of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., but in view of the fact that all members did not return their postal ballot papers to give 100 per cent in favour, the licensing justices declined to make any change. They were also against a market-day extension to houses in the vicinity of the football ground. However, Sunday music had been allowed from 8 p.m. to closing time.”
Grantham Journal - Friday 17 December 1954, page 3.

Nice of them to allow music on Sunday evening. I remember Sundays when I lived in the East End in the late 1970’s. I found it a nightmare because almost every pub had horrible cockney music in the Sunday lunchtime session. I used to hunt out the rare quiet pubs.


Sic1314 said...

Re the opening hours, from what I understand about that period, until the advent of bookmakers in the 1960's, pubs were de-facto busy with bookies runners early in the day. Probably the trade wanted to start earlier so it didn't overlap with normal lunch trade.

Ron Pattinson said...


I'd never have thought of that. Loads of bookies close to pubs in the 1970's. I remember there was one down the same alley as the Whip in Leeds.