Tuesday, 31 July 2018

For a short time only

my other new book with my crappy cover rather than Alexei's real one - "I'll do it tomorrow, dad."


Once Alexei get his finger out. there'll be the definitive cover.

The book? Tales of me wandering the globe getting pissed.

An important reminder

that my new wonderful book is available for purchse:


Loads of fun stuff abot pre-WW III brewing.

Net receipts from beer duty

I love me some numbers. Dry reading? not in the least.

Beer duty was an important revenue source for the UK government. And, with beer production expanding, the amount it raised was on the increase, too. Good news for everyone, Surely?

"The Inland Revenue Report.
THE thirty-fifth report of the Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Inland Revenue for the year ended March 31, 1892, has been recently issued, and while statistics are proverbially dry reading, yet from a trade point of view they are extremely interesting, for it is from the records of the past that lessons for the future are to be learnt. The publication of this report is always eagerly looked forward to by brewers, for it contains an official, and therefore presumably an exact, resumé of the work accomplished _by brewers and others who so largely contribute to the coffers of the national exchequer. In dealing with several points in the report, we may at once state that the figures are for the years ended March 31, unless otherwise set forth. In the first place, we must congratulate our readers on the substantial increase in the sum paid for beer duty, showing as it does that an increased quantity of beer must have been produced last year. The increase amounted to 273,864 barrels, and the net receipts of duty increased £70,425, compared with the year 1891. As these figures relating to the beer duty are of some importance, we append them for the last eleven years, 1882 being the first year in which a complete year’s beer duty was collected :—

England. Scotland. Ireland. United Kingdom.
1882 7,611,203 301,217 618,399 8,530,819
1883 7,425,502 311,869 662,997 8,403,368
1884 7,511,064 332,411 644,694 8,488,169
1885 7,523,626 337,093 684,030 8,544,749
1886 7,389,793 340,611 673,177 8,403,581
1887 7,460,032 356,103 679,519 8,495,654
1888 7,626,901 377,132 707,500 8,711,533
1889 7,652,602 395,706 721,987 8,770,295
1890 8,207,171 441,542 761,713 9,410,426
1891 8,520,904 471,841 788,653 9,781,397
1892 8,585,209 463,879 802,734 9,851,822

When remarking on the report in the three previous years we then stated that the revenue from beer was very much larger than it had ever been before, and we can again reiterate this statement now. Such eminently satisfactory results are in direct contradiction to the dismal prognostications of some who would have us believe that the manufacture of beer is a decaying industry, and they must give considerable confidence to the numerous capitalists who have of late years invested in the shares~of the many joint stock brewing companies which have been formed."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 295.
The 1890s were the peak years for British brewing. Sales were on the up and profits, too. Many breweries had very successful flotations. But the seeds of future problems had already been sown. Temperance twats were starting to get the ear of politicians and the threat of restrictions like local vetoes were starting to appear.

Another longterm threat was linked to the successful flotations. These raised large amounts of cash that was used to be pubs. With new licences being almost impossible to obtain, pubs were a limited recource. The scramble to buy them vastly inflsted their price. This would come back to bite breweries in the bum in the runup to WW I, when changes to licensing duties seriously reduced the value of pubs. And hence the assets of breweries.

This is a bit mean:

"It is satisfactory to find that the practice of private brewing continues to decrease year by year. The number of persons licensed for domestic brewing for 1890-91 was 23,424, as against 20,705 for 1891-92 - a falling off of 2,719."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 295.

That's still an awful lot of licences for domestic brewing.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Adulteration and duty fraud

More on dodgy practices by brewers and publicans.

I get the impression that increased checks by the authorities were having a deterrent effect. There were certainly a lot of samples of beer and wort being analysed at the government laboratory.

"The report of the Principal of the laboratory, Dr. Bell, F.R.S., contains much interesting matter. We reproduce the following extracts :—

The total number of samples analysed during the year has amounted to 48,566, which is 130 more than in the previous year.

The number of prosecutions in which the analysts have been required to attend in Court to give scientific evidence was 138, and the penalties have amounted in the aggregate to £3,316. The cases have comprised 94 against publicans, of which 93 were for dilution of beer, and 1 for the use of saccharin; 10 against brewers for untrue or non-entry of materials used, or for concealed wort. A conviction was obtained for dilution of beer in all cases but three; in these the magistrate was of opinion that the chain of evidence was not sufficiently complete, and gave the defendant the benefit of the doubt."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 296.

That's not a huge number of prosecutions. Does that mean most of the samples were unadulterated? Or that analysts were only required to give evidence in a small number of cases? Statistics on the percentage of adulterated samples would have been useful.

This seems to refer to checks by a different organisation:

"In connection with the revenue from beer 2,044 samples of finished beer taken from 885 publicans have been examined, and in 392 cases evidence was obtained that the beer had been tampered with, either by dilution with water, or by addition of sugar, or by both these illegal practices. It is satisfactory to note that the proportion of sophisticated samples is 4 per cent. lower than last year, and 10 per cent. lower than in 1889."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 296.

These are much more useful figures. I make that around 19% had been tampered with. Which is a big improvement ion the 1850s, when pretty much all beer, with the exception of brewery taps, was adulterated.

Though there seemes to have been quite a lot of fiddling going on in breweries. As tax was paid on the strength of the wort, declaring a lower gravity than was really the case was a way of dodging tax.

"To control the operations of common brewers there have been examined 7,227 samples of wort in various stages of fermentation to check the gravity declared by the trader, or found by the officer; 685 samples of unfermented wort to ascertain if sugar or other materials had been used, either without entry or in excess of the quantity entered; and 1,326 samples of various materials to determine their wort producing value, when the results of the working of the brewery appeared unsatisfactory and suggested possible fraud.

Of the examples examined for original gravity the charge for duty has been raised on the brewers in 1,040 instances, or 14 per cent. This percentage is 3 per cent. lower than that of the previous year, and 4 per cent. lower than in 1889, in both of which years the percentage was considerably above the average. In 960 of these cases the charge was raised less than 5 degrees; in 62 cases, 5 degrees, but less than 10; and in 18 cases, 10 degrees or more."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 296.
Less than 3º isn't a big deal, but over 10º is. Most cases appear to have been just a few degrees here and there. Only 80 cases seem to have been a fraud of any size. 14% declared incrrectly isn't too bad. Cases of attempted duty fraud I believe declined as the number of breweries reduced at it was easier for excise men to keep an eye on breweries.

In the last 25 years the opposite has become true. As the number of breweries has rocketed, it's become impossible to really monitor all of them. I'm sure there's more duty fraud now than there aws 50 or 100 years ago.

And finally, a sort of reverse fiddling, with non-alcoholic drinks that were too strong.
"There have also been analysed 165 samples sold as non-intoxicating beverages without licence under the names of herb, botanic, ginger, &c., beer. Here, also, there has been found a more general conformity to the law than in former years. In 24 of these samples the percentage of proof spirit was over 3, but less than 5; in eight samples over 5, but less than 7; and only 1 sample exceeded 7 per cent."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 296.
5% proof spirit is 2.85% ABV, 7% is 4% ABV. Anything over 5% proof is intoxicating.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

New book sales rocketing

Sales of my new, highly commercial book, are through the roof*. Best hurry if you want to secure a copy before I increase the price randomly.


* Almost four to date. Including my proof copy.

Beer Dilution

Boak & Bailey recently posted about dodgy cellar practices in the 1970s. Adding stuff you shouldn't to casks - slops or water - was nothing new.

I've evidence from various sources that for most of the 19th century aldulteration of beer was rife.
Mostly in the form of watering down. But in the latter part of the century, when local authorities started to clamp down on the adulteration of food in general, more controls were introduced.  And the chance of getting caught became much greater.

AS happened in these cases:

"BEER DILUTION.—At the Mansion House Police-court, on the 14th ult., George Frederick Davis, landlord of the “Coach and Horses Tavern,” Whitefriars-street, was fined £5 and £1 costs for diluting beer to the extent of 3.5 gallons of water in the 36 gallons. Henry Hooper, landlord of the “White Hart Tavern," Long-land, Smithfield, was fined, at the same court £5 and £3 10s. costs for a similar offence—At Bow-street Police court, on the 24th ult., Frank Bate, landlord of the “Enterprise" publichouse, Long-acre, appeared to a summons, issued at the instance of the Inland Revenue authorities, charging him with diluting beer. Mr. Alpe prosecuted; the defendant was represented by Mr. Crisp. According to the case for the prosecution, two Excise officers visited the defendant’s cellar on September 20 and took from a barrel a sample of beer. They told Mr. Soffey, the manager of the house, what they had done, and offered to leave a portion of the sample with him. He said, however, that they need not trouble to do so, as he knew the beer was all right. The sample taken was forwarded to Somerset House, and the analysts found that the beer had been diluted to the extent of 4.5 gallons per barrel. Mr. Crisp, for the defence, suggested that by some inadvertence diluted beer had been sent to the defendant’s house. The place was under the control of Mr. Soffey, the manager, who, when he was engaged, deposited £100, which he was to forfeit if he did anything likely to injure the house or prejudice the licence. Sir John Bridge said there could be no doubt that the beer had been diluted, and he was bound to convict the defendant. It was perfectly certain that the Legislature intended that a publichouse should be managed by the person to whom the licence was granted. The holder of the licence was responsible, and in this case he would be fined £25."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 363.
To put those fines into context, a pint of Mild cost 2d per pint in the 1890s.

It looks like adding around 10% water was the standard practice.That's probably about as much as you can get away with before it becomde noticeable to drinkers.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Lets's Brew - 1962 Clarke 1/5 Nobby BA

Clarke was a small brewery in Stockport that was bought up and closed by Boddington in the early 1960s.

Clarke didn’t have a huge range of beers. The brewing record has page after page of Mild and Bitter. Then look . . . here’s a Brown Ale. Yippee!

They’re a rare breed to start with. This set was the last place I’d expect to find one. The 1/5, if you’re wondering, is the price per pint. 1 shilling and 5 pence. The same price as their Bitter, which is coming up next.

That price has me wondering about how Nobby was packaged. They couldn’t have sold it at that price bottled. It’s the same price as their Bitter of about the same gravity. Was this a draught beer, or did they just work out the price that it would be on draught? I’ve no idea and thinking about it is making my head hurt.

The recipe is much like the Mild, except there’s no glucose here. The hopping rate is similar to that for their Bitter at 6.5 lbs per quarter of malt, while the Mild has just 4.5 lbs.

Now I think about it, BA could also stand for Best Ale. That is, Best Mild. That would make sense. I don’t know. Make your own mind up.

1962 Clarke 1/5 Nobby BA
pale malt 5.25 lb 68.85%
enzymic malt 0.125 lb 1.64%
flaked maize 0.50 lb 6.56%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.25 lb 3.28%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.25 lb 16.39%
malt extract 0.25 lb 3.28%
Fuggles 90 min 0.67 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.67 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1035.5
FG 1014
ABV 2.84
Apparent attenuation 60.56%
IBU 18
SRM 22
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

The recipe is taken from my new book about post-WW III UK beer.


Friday, 27 July 2018


Yeah! Polished off the last few tables after work tonight. The new book is done.

It's a relief. I meant to bash it out in a few weeks. But got dragged in by the detail. Oh well. It was probably worth it. For me. Noy so sure about you having to trudge through it. I'm not selling this very well. am I?

I find the post-WW II era in British brewing fascinating. Probably because the beer and drinking culture I grew up with had very much been formed by it. The beer all look like ones I encountered in pubs in my far-off youth.


Another chapter of my Big Book published. Just eight to go.

The Barmaids' Political Defence League

The 1908 Licensing Bill contained a rather controversial clause. Clause 20 proposed that licensing justices could impose restrictions on publicans when renewing their licenses, including forbidding the employment of women and children. Meaning licensing magistrates, who were often temperance fanatics, could effectively ban barmaids.

Eva Gore-Booth had moved to a working-class part of Manchester in the 1890s. She came from a wealthy Anglo-Irish family, but empathised strongly with the poor women that surrounded her. She set up the Barmaids' Political Defence League to fight against Clause 20;

Lord Robert Cecil and Partisan Benches.

A meeting organised the Barmaids' Political Defence League was held Holborn Town Hall yesterday. Miss Eva Gore-Booth occupied the chair, and read a letter from the Bishop of Manchester, expressing his concurrence with the objects of the meeting. She said that many barmaids were unable attend that meeting, because London was so full at the present time, and the barmaids were conseqnently too busy.

Mr. Wilfred Ashley, M.P., said they were protesting against the power of saying that women should deprived of their means of livelihood being placed in the hands irresponsible and non-elected justices. It had been said that the census showed that there were only 28,000 barmaids employed, but there were 96,000 licensed houses, and, therefore, thought that the estimate 100,000 barmaids was well within the mark. But the Bill affected not only the barmaids, but every female worker on licensed premises whether they were charwomen or chambermaids. If conditions under which the barmaids worked were insanitary, the hours were too long, then that was good argument for reforming the conditions or shortening the hours of labour, but was no argument for the total abolition that phase of employment. Mr. Ashley moved the following resolution:-

That this meeting protests against that portion Clause 20 of the Licensing Bill which relates women, because it involves closing trade which has hitherto absorbed a large proportion of female labour: they resent the stigma that such legislation casts on the honest employment of an enormous class of working women, and they dread the future result on the already over-crowded labour market, the competition of the 100,000 women workers who would naturally enter this trade.

Lord Robert Cecil, M.P., who seconded the proposition, said that did not think that it should entrusted to benches of justices to say whether particular avenue of employment should be closed to women. Many of these benches were violently partisan, and were not to be trusted in this matter. The Clause was arbitrary and tyrannical. If an employment was forbidden to women because was demoralising, why should it not forbidden men on the same grounds? Part of the support the Clause was due to a despicable jealousy of the work women. Such a  proposal would never have bean brought forward if women had had the vote. The resolution was carried."
Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Friday 15 May 1908, page 2.
The clause was eventually dropped from the Licensing Bill. As you probably could have guessed, given that they've always been around in pubs. It would have been a sad day had they been nbanned.

There's an excellent article here on Eva Gore-Booth and her struggle to defend barmaids.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Brown Ale after WW II

Nother book excerpt for your delectation. Something I only wrote a few hours ago.

Only revived around 1900, Brown Ale became wildly popular in the middle of the century. It was one of the beers that boosted the popularity of bottled beer, especially in pubs.

Yet it varied immensely in nature. The distinction is often made between Northern and Southern Brown Ales. But it was more complex than that. Really what’s really meant is standard-strength and strong Brown Ales. I’d prefer to classify them and Single Brown Ale and Double Brown Ale. Because there are plenty of examples of weak versions being brewed in the North and strong ones in the South.

Brown Ale doesn’t appear at all in the brewing records of many breweries. For the simple reason that it wasn’t brewed as a distinct beer, but was just a bottled version of Dark Mild. With perhaps some tweaking in the primings.

The stronger type of Brown Ale was brewed as its own beer. Though the most famous – Newcastle Brown Ale – was a blend of two beers. One of the best Southern examples of a stronger Brown Ale, Whitbread Double Brown was sadly discontinued in the mid-1950s.

The importance of Brown Ale in the London market is highlighted by just how many analyses there are of it in the Whitbread Gravity Book.

London Brown Ale under 1038º 1946 - 1952
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1946 Barclay Perkins Doctor Brown Ale 13.5 1034.1 1011.3 2.95 66.86% 105
1952 Barclay Perkins Doctor Brown Ale 19 1034 1010.5 3.04 69.12% 98
1947 Beasley Brown Ale 12 1030 1007.7 2.89 74.33% 83
1947 Charrington Brown Ale 15 1027.7 1012 2.02 56.68% 91
1952 Charrington Brown Ale 9d 1031.1 1008.5 2.93 72.67% 120
1950 Courage Brown Ale 15 1029.7 1007.6 2.86 74.41% 83
1952 Courage Nut Brown Ale 19 1032.4 1008.2 3.14 74.69% 87
1946 Hammerton Nut Brown Ale 24 1026.5 1003.8 2.95 85.66% 79
1950 Hammerton Nut Brown Ale 17 1029.8 1006.9 2.97 76.85% 83
1950 Ind Coope Nut Brown Ale 1029 1009.5 2.52 67.24% 75
1952 Ind Coope Nut Brown Ale 19 1030.9 1011.7 2.48 62.14% 83
1946 Mann Crossman Brown Ale 14 1034.4 1008.8 3.32 74.42% 84
1950 Mann Crossman Brown Ale 18 1035.8 1013.3 2.91 62.85% 98
1952 Meux Nut Brown Ale 19 1029.8 1009.1 2.68 69.46% 106
1948 South London Brewer Co. SLB Brown Ale 16 1028 1011.1 2.18 60.36% 83
1946 Taylor Walker Nut Brown Ale 17 1030.1 1007.6 2.92 74.75% 83
1952 Taylor Walker Nut Brown Ale 19 1032.6 1011.7 2.70 64.11% 83
1946 Truman Trubrown 12.5 1033.2 1011.8 2.76 64.46% 105
1951 Truman Trubrown 19 1035.4 1012.8 2.92 63.84% 105
1946 Watney Brown Ale 12 1029.6 1008.5 2.73 71.28% 87
1952 Watney Brown Ale 18 1032 1010.8 2.74 66.25% 105
1950 Wenlock Nut Brown Ale 15 1030.7 1012.5 2.35 59.28% 87
1952 Wenlock Nut Brown Ale 19 1032.5 1012.5 2.58 61.54% 83
1947 Whitbread Forest Brown 12 1028.9 1006.5 2.91 77.51% 83
1952 Whitbread Forest Brown 21 1032.6 1012.1 2.65 62.88% 95
Average 16.7 1031.2 1009.9 2.76 68.55% 91.0
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

A combination of low gravity and poor attenuation leaves only a couple over 3% ABV. The strongest is the granddaddy of all Brown Ales, Manns. Though it’s quite a bit weaker than pre-war, when it had an OG in the low 1040ºs and was almost 4% ABV.

There was a slight increase in gravity at the beginning of the 1950s. Where I have two analyses for the same brewery, you can see that the gravity of the later one is a point or two higher.

There seems to be a similar trend as amongst Mild Ales, where the London examples are darker and less well-attenuated than those from elsewhere.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1954 Barclay Perkins Sparkling Beer

Lager doesn't get enough love amongst beer geeks, apparently. So here's a Lager recipe to try to perk up your interest.

Barclay Perkins took the plunge into Lager brewing immediately after the end of WW I. In the interwar years, it was one of only six UK breweries that produced Lager. The others were the Alloa Brewery, Jeffreys, Red Tower, Tennant and the Wrexham Lager Brewery. Of those, only Red Tower was in England (Manchester).

Of the several Lagers that Barclay Perkins brewed, Sparkling Beer was the oddest. Introduced just before WW II, it seems to have been exclusively brewed for export. Much seems to have been consumed either by the military or aboard ships. It was also one of the first beers to be canned.

It’s difficult to say what style it’s meant to be. The label makes no mention of the fact it’s a Lager. Based on its amber colour, I guess you could call it a Vienna Lager.

Barclay Perkins certainly went the whole hog when brewing Lager, employing a complicated mashing scheme with multiple rests. Interestingly, their Lagers were their only beers to contain grits. They usually used flaked maize. The grist is pretty simple with, in addition to the grits, just pilsner malt and crystal malt.

East Kent Goldings may seem an odd choice of hops for a Lager. They did sometimes use a mixture of Goldings and Saaz, but I know from earlier brewing records that Saaz were double the price of Goldings.

In addition to the main mash, there was also a cereal mash for the grits:

mash in 122º F stand 20 minutes
raise to 154º F stand 20 minutes
boil 212º F for 5 minutes

Main mash:

mash in 122º F
raise to 154º F stand 30 minutes
raise with grits to 168º F
hold at 168º F 45 minutes
Sparge at 165º F

1954 Barclay Perkins Sparkling Beer
pilsner malt 7.50 lb 71.29%
crystal malt 60 L 1.50 lb 14.26%
grits 1.50 lb 14.26%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.02 lb 0.19%
Goldings 120 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1046
FG 1008
ABV 5.03
Apparent attenuation 82.61%
IBU 24
SRM 11
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 47.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 2042 Danish lager

Ouput of UK breweries by size in 1889

I've been playing around a bit with the numbers from yesterday. And come up with some fascinating new ones of my own.

I've converted the quantities of malt and sugar into quarters, 336 lbs in the case of the former, 224 lbs for the latter. Why? Because that makes it easy to calculate how many barrels of beer were brewed from them. Or at least, the number of standard barrels.

A standard barrel was defined as 36 Imperial gallons of beer with an OG of 1055º. A quarter of malt or sugar produces about 80 brewers pounds of extract. 1055º is about 20 lbs per barrel, so you get about 4 standard barrels from a quarter. Simple. The total for 1889 I came up with is 30,791,391. I don't have the real number for total beer production for that year, but I do for 1890 and 1891. For both it was around 30.8 miliion barrels. So I think I'm somewher close.

The most striking details are revealed by looking at the percentage of total output produced by each class. The tywo largest breweries produced more beer than the smallest 10,745. That's quite mind boggling when you think about it. Around a third of all beer was brewed by the 34 breweeries producing more than 100,000 barrels a year. While a quarter was made by those producing fewer than 10,000 barrels a year.

Come to think of it, the situation in the UK today is similar in some ways. A few large breweries and a modest number of middle-sized ones producing most of the beer, while a massive number of tiny ones contribute only a tiny percentage of the total.

Barrels brewed by UK breweries of different sizes in 1889
standard barrels brewed no. of licences issued qtrs malt & corn qtrs sugar est. barrels brewed % of total brewed
Under 1,000 10,745 517,100 18,613 2,142,851 6.96%
1,000 and under 10,000 1,479 1,243,508 175,246 5,675,015 18.43%
10,000 ,, 10,000 173 872,002 127,125 3,996,507 12.98%
20,000 ,, 30,000 108 585,740 98,970 2,738,838 8.89%
30,000 ,, 50,000 69 585,643 96,617 2,729,040 8.86%
50,000 ,, 100,000 48 699,994 129,906 3,319,598 10.78%
100,000 ,, 150,000 13 341,106 52,625 1,574,923 5.11%
150,000 ,, 200,000 5 191,351 23,942 861,172 2.80%
100,000 ,, 250,000 3 150,602 18,592 676,777 2.20%
250,000 ,, 300,000 3 160,536 47,416 831,811 2.70%
300,000 ,, 350,000 1 67,249 15,404 330,613 1.07%
350,000 ,, 400,000 3 268,002 31,443 1,197,779 3.89%
400,000 ,, 450,000 1 91,888 26,486 473,496 1.54%
450,000 ,, 500,000 1 119,915 5,971 503,542 1.64%
500,000 ,, 550,000 1 109,897 26,234 544,520 1.77%
550,000 ,, 600,000 1 150,486 4,345 619,323 2.01%
600,000 ,, 1,000,000    0 0 0
1,000,000 and over 2 637,459 6,324 2,575,131 8.36%
Total 12,756 6,792,491 905,357 30,791,391
"The Brewers' Guardian 1890", 1890, page 322.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Number of UK breweries by size in 1889

One of the things I like most about old brewing trade magazines are the statistics. as you're probably aware if you've been reading this blog for more than five minutes.

There were still an awful lot of breweries in the UK in 1889, though the number was falling quite quickly, by a few hundred every year in the 1880s.

The vast majority were tiny: almost 85% produced fewer than 1,000 standard barrels a year. And most were brewing well under 1,000 barrels. According to my calculations, around 200 barrels on average. Most were pub breweries, which were still very common in some parts of the country, for example the Black country and some of Yorkshire.

Only 34 breweries produced more than 100,000 barrels and only 13 more than 250,000 barrels. That last group was dominated by London and Burton breweries. There was one exception to that. The biggest of them all was Guinness in Dublin. Which is one of the breweries producing over 1 million barrels a year, along with Bass.

I've derived some more fascinating stuff from these numbers. There's something for you to look forward to.

Breweries, brewers licences and duty in 1889
standard barrels brewed no. of licences issued malt & corn sugar licence and beer duty paid £ s. d.
Under 1,000 10,745 173,745,474 4,169,363 624,651 4 6
1,000 and under 10,000 1,479 417,818,604 39,255,092 1,696,936 6 9
10,000 ,, 10,000 173 292,992,588 28,475,977 1,208,450 17 2
20,000 ,, 30,000 108 196,808,640 22,169,185 825,118 6 10
30,000 ,, 50,000 69 196,776,174 21,642,129 829,915 18 9
50,000 ,, 100,000 48 235,197,816 29,098,953 1,005,725 10 0
100,000 ,, 150,000 13 114,611,700 11,787,908 481,871 8 9
150,000 ,, 200,000 5 64,293,936 5,363,026 264,639 1 3
100,000 ,, 250,000 3 50,602,356 4,164,597 204,895 16 3
250,000 ,, 300,000 3 53,940,222 10,621,244 255,527 13 9
300,000 ,, 350,000 1 22,595,664 3,450,563 101,521 0 0
350,000 ,, 400,000 3 90,048,672 7,043,171 361,118 12 6
400,000 ,, 450,000 1 30,874,368 5,932,856 139,523 16 3
450,000 ,, 500,000 1 40,291,440 1,337,408 153,039 1 6
500,000 ,, 550,000 1 36,925,224 5,876,304 166,904 8 9
550,000 ,, 600,000 1 50,563,212 973,297 185,244 10 0
600,000 ,, 1,000,000   
1,000,000 and over 2 214,186,140 1,416,548 818,087 5 0
Total 12,756 2,282,276,850 202,800,021 9,323,170 19 0
"The Brewers' Guardian 1890", 1890, page 322.