I already had the figures, but was only prompted to add them up when I came across this little article:
"BEER DRINKERS HAVE PAID £2,000 MILLION TO COUNTRY'S REVENUEThe number for WW II is obviously less than £2,000 million. Here are the full figures, plus some other numbers for fun:
During the ten war and post-war years 1939-48 Britain's beer-drinkers, contributed through excise duty alone nearly £2,000 millions towards the country's revenue. The precise figure was £1,989,631.848. This and other surprising facts are revealed by the just-published handbook, Brewers' Almanack.
Now, however, the beer revenue is dropping rapidly because of the slump in beer-drinking, and to-day's tax of ninepence on the average public bar pint is yielding no more than did the sevenpence pint tax of two years ago.
Hopes for a return to better beer are suggested by the facts that the home barley yield has increased from 17,840,000 cwt in 1939 to 29,260,000cwt, in 1947; the hop yield has risen from 288,000 to 300,000 cwt, the wartime use of flaked barley and oats as brewing substitute is no longer compulsory, and brewers are now free to revert to the full use of malt.
Recent evidence of diminish-ing returns from high taxation may presage cheaper beer."
Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette - Wednesday 23 March 1949, page 4.
|UK beer output, tax and average OG 1939 - 1948|
|year||bulk barrels||Total Tax £||average OG|
|1955 Brewers' Almanack, pages 50 & 80.|
My numbers tally exactly with those in the article. Not surprising, as the source is the same.
Almost forgot, I promised to tell you how much tax was paid on beer during the war. It was £1,179,863,607. Which even today, after 75 years of inflation, is still an enormous sum.
Turning to another point made in the article, yes brewers no longer had to use oats and flaked barley. But that didn't mean they "reverted" to brewing all-malt. As most brewers had never worked that way. What really happened was that they went back to using flaked maize instead of flaked barley.
Note that the cheery article didn't mention that beer wasn't really getting any stronger. Though it was up minutely on its nadir, which was in 1947.