“16,000 BOTTLES OF FREE BEER - BUT NOT TO DRINK
EIGHTEEN men with 16,000 bottles of free beer stood in a gallery at Olympia today, at the Brewers' Exhibition.
Almost gloatingly, it seemed to the observer, they raised the bottles to the light and inspected their contents, then had them opened by eager helpers and sipped the contents.
But, to the disgust of the spectators, kept back by uniformed attendants, not a drop was drunk.
The great beer-tasting competition was in progress to decide from where comes the best bottled beer from, north or south. Bottles from all parts of Britain, from 584 different entrants, competed for the honour and there were more from the Empire.
Beer-tasting is a ritual, the chairman of the tasters, Fred J Bearman of Weymouth, stated. "First" he said, "the bottle is lifted to the light to ensure that it is absolutely brilliant. Then it is opened and there come the test for head, aroma, and condition, then the palate takes over.
"Not a drop must drunk. No taster could afford to spoil his palate."”
Leicester Daily Mercury - Monday 02 October 1950, page 7.
Eighteen judges for 16,000 bottles? Though that can’t be 16,000 different beers, it’s still an awful lot. With almost 600 companies entering, there must have been at least a couple of thousand beers. Which is still a lot for eighteen judges to get through. As obviously more than one judge would try each beer.
Though I guess if you aren’t drinking it, you’d be able to get through more. But if you don’t swallow beer, you can’t fully taste it. Especially bitterness on the back end. The use of the word “sip” implies a small taste. I suppose by not drinking they mean not drinking the whole bottle.
Never had uniformed attendants at any beer judging I’ve done. Then again, there wasn’t ever an audience, either.
Here’s a wonderful example of local press homerism:
The most typically Scottish stall at the 62nd Brewers' and Allied Traders' Exhibition, which opened this morning, is that of a Glasgow firm which makes labels and show cards for nearly every kind of beverage — alcoholic and non-alcoholic — known to man, and whose designs reach the farthest flung outposts of the world. Gaily decorated in Macdonald tartan upholstery, the stall, which occupied a commanding position in the National Hall at Olympia, is proving a Mecca for the visitors who will throng the hall until the exhibition closes on Friday.
This is the oldest trade show to be held in Britain, and as the years have gone on it has grown in importance. For the first time this year it occupies two halls at Olympia, the Empire Hall and the National. The heavy engineering section is representative of the latest types of brewing and bottling machinery, some of which is exhibited for the first time. Allied industries embrace coopering, brewing ingredients, bar equipment, and materials and machines used in the soft drinks trade.
An important feature is the number of competitions to be judged during this week. They are for the best brew of bottled beer; the best Empire Wine; the best fomented beverages made from apples and pears; and the best barley and hops. Scotland is well represented in the entries, particularly in the grain section, Fife and the Borders being especially prominent.
Other Scottish exhibits include those of an Edinburgh firm specialising in soft drinks and cordials, which has a papier-mache Highlander as a motif; and of two Glasgow firms, one exhibiting refrigerator equipment and the other stationery and labelling devices.”
The Scotsman - Tuesday 03 October 1950, page 4.
Indeed, what could be more Scottish than tartan upholstery and a papier-mache Highlander?
“best fomented beverages made from apples and pears” That would be cider and perry then. Weird to use such a convoluted terms when two simple ones will suffice.
Was it really the oldest trade show? It did start in the 19th century, so it could be true. I’d look it up, but I’m in a bit of a lazy-arse mood.
You can see how quick some brewers were to show off their awards:
BREWERS' EXHIBITION 1950Biggleswade Chronicle - Friday 06 October 1950, page 10.
QUALITY ALWAYS TELLS
WELLS & WINCH'S CROWN ALE
1st PRIZE - SILVER MEDAL
BOTTLES PALE ALES
OF ANY GRAVITY
Obtainable in all their Houses at
11d. pre Small Bottle (Public Bar)
GOLD CUP ALE
in the Bottled Beers Competition at the 1950 Brewers Exhibition, Olympia, London
J. HEY & CO. LTD. BRADFORD
Yorkshire Evening Post - Wednesday 11 October 1950, page 5.
BREWERS’ EXHIBITION 1950
Russells' PALE ALE First Prize
Russells' IMPERIAL STOUT Second Prize
RUSSELLS. BREWERS. MALTON
Yorkshire Evening Post - Saturday 18 November 1950, page 2.
I could continue, but I fear it would bore you. I’m yawning as I type.