As usual, I couldn’t resist extrapolating other figures from the table supplied. Having the value and volume of beer exported to each destination, it was simple enough to calculate the average price of each barrel.
I expected that the prices would be roughly similar for each destination. It turns out that’s way wide of the the mark. In a very surprising way. First though, a little contextualisation in terms of prices. At this time a pint of Ordinary Mild retailed for around 1s a pint. That comes to a bit over £14 for a 36-gallon barrel. Bitter retailing at 1s 4d per pint was around £19 per barrel.
Though obviously a big chunk of that was the tax. About £9 for a barrel of Mild at 1030º and £12 for Bitter at 1040º. The brewer would get the tax returned through “drawback” if were exported, of course.
Hopefully that makes these numbers more understandable.
|UK beer exports average value per barrel 1950 - 1952|
|To British West Africa||£12.31||£12.99||£13.59|
|British West Indies||£15.48||£15.86||£17.01|
|Other Commonwealth Countries and the Irish Republic||£11.20||£12.70||£13.03|
|Other Foreign Countries||£13.35||£13.98||£14.68|
|"Brewers Guardian 1953" February, page 81.|
See what the big surprise is? Belgium. The value per barrel is half what it was elsewhere. I’m still scratching my head trying to work out why.
I understand why the West Indies tops the list. The beer sent there was mostly Foreign Extra Stout or Strong Scotch Ale. Strong, expensibe beers. But hang on. Strong Scotch Ale was a lot of what went to Belgium. So wht was the average value of exports to there worth just half as much? It makes absolutely no sense to me.
It’s interesting to see how much cheaper imported beer was than that exported. Even cheaper than the beer sent to Belgium. Though I can sort of see some sense there. Most imports were Lager. But not full-stregnth Continental Lager. No, it was stuff brewed especially watery for the UK. Like the 3.2% ABV version of Heineken Pils.
I think I’ll end with another table. This time showing the price per pint of imports and exports.
|UK beer exports averageprice per pint 1950 - 1952|
|To British West Africa||10.25||10.82||11.32|
|British West Indies||12.90||13.22||14.18|
|Other Commonwealth Countries and the Irish Republic||9.33||10.58||10.86|
|Other Foreign Countries||11.12||11.65||12.24|
Remember, a pint of draught beer cost 12 – 18d down the pub.