WW I must have been a big shock for beer drinkers. Beer prices, which had been constant for four or five decades, increased dramatically. A pint of Mild, which had been 2d in 1914 was 6d in 1920. And for a beer of much lower gravity.
In 1939, gravities and prices were pretty much as they had been in 1921. The war soon changed that, with the first tax increase hitting brewers just a few months in. But it wasn’t quite the shock it had been during WW I. Further tax increases followed, even past the end of the war.
As in WW I, the effect of the war was an approximate trebling of draught beer prices. Though, once again, a pint was considerably weaker in 1948 than in 1939.
If you’re wondering why Best Bitter became cheaper in the later war years, it’s because there was a big reduction in gravity. Larger than that Burton and Stout endured. Though I had trouble finding numbers because some of the breweries I was using a yardstick, for example, Barclay Perkins, stopped brewing Best Bitter early on in the war.
Still, I’ve lived through just a bad beer price inflation. In the mid-1970s beer increased in price several times a year when inflation was running at 25-30% annually.
|Draught beer prices per pint (d) 1939 - 1948|
|Month||Year||Ale||Mild||Best Mild||Ordinary Bitter||Best Bitter||Burton||Stout|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.|
|Barclay Perkins Circular Letters held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/521/1.|