Thursday 28 February 2019

Beer value

I love old price lists. I always have done. Even when I know nothing much about the beers listed. But that's all changed.

I came across a Dominic of Horsham advert from 1948 which lists various, mostly quite well know, beers.1948 is a good year for me because Whitbread were very active at that time collecting samples of other brewers' beers for analysis. Meaning I have analyses of many of the beers in the price list.

It's always fun to play around with tables of data. Especially when I can combine information from different sources. As I know the OG and the price, I can easily work out the price relative to strength, by calculating the cost per gravity point.

I was slightly surpised by how consistent the pricing is: around 0.28d per gravity point. Then again, so much of the price of beer was the tax, that it flattens out any variation. Truly unexpected is discovering that Bass and Worthington Pale Ales were the best value. They're exactly the type of beer that you might expect to charge a premium price. Guinness - another beer with a premium image - comes out around average.

No prizes for guessing the worst value beers. Obviously that honour goes to the Lagers. They've always been crap value in the UK.

That the Burton Pale Ales are listed as Burton Ales is rather annoying. They aren't and never were.

PALE ALES half Pts. Pts  Qts.  OG price per gravity point
SIMONDS' Light Ale  7.5d 1/2d 2/3d
   "     S.B. Best Pale Ale  8d 1/3d 2/5d 1029.1 0.2749
Rigden's "KENT'S BEST" Pale Ale 8.5d 1/4d 2/7d
SIMONDS' Brown Ale  7.5d 1/2d 2/3d 1025.6 0.293
SIMONDS' "Berry Brown" Ale  8.5d 1/4d 1029.5 0.2881
Rigden's "KENT'S BEST" Brown Ale 8.5d 1/4d 2/7d
SIMONDS' Luncheon Stout  8d 1/3d 2/5d
SIMONDS' SPECIAL Stout 1/- 1043.9 0.2733
Rigden's DOUBLE STOUT  8.5d 1/4d 2/7d
HAMMERTON'S OATMEAL 11d 1/8d 3/2d 1036.8 0.2989
GUINNESS 1/1d 2/- 3/10d 1045.2 0.2876
SIMONDS' I.P.A.  1/- 1039.7 0.3023
Bass 1/2d 2/3d 1053.8 0.2602
Worthington 1/2d 2/3d 1054.1 0.2588
BEN TRUMAN 1/2d 1048.2 0.2905
RED TOWER  1/1d 1035.8 0.3631
Barclay's  1/1d 1036.1 0.3601
CARLSBERG (Imported) 1/5d 1035.6 0.4213
PILSNER URQUELL (Imported)  1/7d 1049 0.3469
West Sussex County Times - Friday 26 November 1948, page 11.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.


Anonymous said...

I'm crap at maths but how much would be the best valued beer in that list and what would the price be today ?

Keep up the good work.

Ron Pattinson said...


I've no idea what the price would be today. Guinness and White Shield are the only ones that still exist.