Friday, 3 August 2018

Beer consumption 1889 - 1891 and 2014 - 2016

We saw last time that between 1889 and 1891 beer consumption was around 30 million standard barrels per year. But how does that comapare to today?

Well, not exactly today, because I don't have those figures. But I do have 2014 - 2016. Unfortunately, the basis for them isn't the same as in 1889-1891, as they are bulk not standard barrels. Which has both an upside and a downside.

The upside is that it means, with a bit of fiddling, we can take the strength of the beer out of the equation and get an idea of the quantuity of alcohol being consumed. All I need to do is to convert bulk barrels into standard ones.

Assuming that average OG is still around 1037º, one modern bulk barrel equals about two-thirds of a standard barrel at 1055º. so it's pretty easy to clculate the number of standard barrels.

Even without that conversion, it's clear that far less beer is being drunk currently than in the 1890s. In terms of bulk barrels, consumption is around 26.75 million barrels. While in 1890 and 1891 it was over 31 million standard barrels.

UK beer 2014 - 2016 (bulk barrels)

2014 2015 2016
production 25,177,201 25,217,529 23,270,763
consumption 26,734,125 26,740,236 26,721,293
exports 3,202,999 3,452,119 3,650,645
Source:
"Statistical Handbook of the the British Beer and Pub Association 2017", page 18.

Converted to standard barrels, modern consumption is about 10 million barrels less than that.

UK beer 2014 - 2016 (standard barrels)

2014 2015 2016
production 16,784,801 16,811,686 15,513,842
consumption 17,822,750 17,826,824 17,814,196
exports 2,135,333 2,301,413 2,433,764
Source:
"Statistical Handbook of the the British Beer and Pub Association 2017", page 18.

Here are the 1889 - 1891 figures again. The one big positive change is the amount of beer exports, which are five times what they were.

UK beer 1889 - 1891 (standard barrels)

1889 1890 1891
production 30,402,298 31,847,574 32,236,970
consumption 29,823,773 31,248,798 31,667,268
exports 578,525 598,776 569,702
Source:
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 41.

Consumption, in terms of standard isn't much more than half of what it was in the early 1890s. But when you take the difference in population into account, the fall is much greater. In 1891 the population of the UK was 37,802,381. Currently, it's around 66 million. Meaning beer consumption now isn't much more than a quarter of what it was in the early 1890s. Pretty scary.



2 comments:

ian B said...

Regarding the average OG for modern beer, is there a way to find out what it actually is rather than assuming?

Ron Pattinson said...

Ian B,

since they changed the way duty is charged from OG to ABV, no, there isn't.