Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Scottish beer exports between the wars

I recently bought an academic tome with the snappy title of "The Dynamics of the international Brewing industry since 1800". All I wanted it for were some statistics on Scottish beer exports.

I need the information for the book on Scottish brewing I’m currently writing. It’s something I often do: buy a book for specific pieces of information. What else can I do if it isn’t available anywhere else?

The book is a series of articles on various related topics, written by well-known academics. The one I was interested in, called “Following the Flag”, was written by Ian Donnachie, author of the seminal “A History of the Brewing Industry in Scotland” (an excellent book, from which I’ve nicked loads of statistics).

This section in “Following the Flag” caught my eye:

"Certainly, compared to the period before 1914, export volumes from the United Kingdom halved during the inter-war years, falling to an average of 290,000 barrels per annum in the years 1924-28 and 270,00 barrels in 1934-38. Although there is no  corroborative data Scottish brewers probably continued to account for about a quarter of the total in the immediate post-war years."
"The Dynamics of the international Brewing industry since 1800" edited by Richard George Wilson and Terence Richard Gourvish, 1998, page 130.

It’s the final sentence that made me feel all weird. Because although Donnachie might not have the corroborative data, but I do. Or just about. Because, in addition to beer exported the figures also include other beer exempt from duty. The last column give the real figures for exports, which you can see are 10-20% less than the UK total for all types of duty free beer.

Scotland wasn’t responsible for 25% of UK exports between the wars. It was more like 50%. In some years, such as 1927 and 1928, even more than that.

Beer Exported on Drawback and Free of Duty
England and Wales Scotland Ireland United Kingdom UK exports
1916 581,947 174,595 46,371 802,913
1917 314,333 73,896 30,095 418,324
1918 174,408 30,379 16,185 220,972
1919 470,794 195,995 33,821 700,610
1920 312,868 146,726 16,698 485,292 390,248
1921 215,719 92,193 12,648 320,560
1922 207,882 117,978 10,239 336,099 260,914
1923 176,913 108,544 2,270 287,727 257,454
1924 158,373 132,889 753 292,015 264,003
1925 180,731 145,603 415 326,749 290,824
1926 178,155 168,609 305 347,069 283,033
1927 156,258 179,242 232 338,732 287,445
1928 170,728 193,255 363,983 328,029
1929 176,381 223,638 400,019 352,942
1930 173,988 204,345 378,333 328,524
1931 159,278 147,527 306,805 289,516
1932 136,231 133,240 269,471 244,525
1933 117,363 126,254 243,617 217,981
Sources:
Brewers' Journal 1919, page 65.
Brewers' Journal 1922, page 71.
Brewers' Journal 1925, page 83.
Brewers' Journal 1928, page 87.
Brewers' Journal 1934, page 162.
Brewers' Almanack 1928, p. 115
Brewers' Almanack 1955, p. 57

Weird that I should have more data than the academics.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sounds interesting.

I know the guys at the Scottish Brewing Archive Association, as I'm a member, would you like me to pass this on ?